Building a team

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So, who am I?

Well, nobody really.

As in, I’m not a Harvard graduate. I’m not a management guru. And, as you’ve probably gathered, I’m not off the telly.

So on that basis, you would be well within your rights to ask – well what the hell do you know about building a team?

What this is… and what this isn’t

Here’s an explanation.

I’ve always played (and still try to play!) team sports. The thrill of winning or achieving success with a team, both in sport and in business creates a great buzz. Sharing success with a team is a really great feeling.

More than that, I’ve also always been fascinated by the various components that go into the creation of building a winning unit. Plus, some of our recent work has been working with clients on internal communications.

So, what follows is reflective of my experiences – good and bad, across both my professional life, in addition to other sporting and leadership roles I’ve taken on over the past 10-15 years.

For ease and brevity, I’ve looked to capture these is a top 10 list. I hope some of them resonate.

1. Be yourself

The biggest thing. Don’t try to be Richard Branson. Go with your gut and be yourself. If you are passionate, harness that energy and use it positively. If you are softly spoken, don’t try and change.

Your team will see through a fraud.

2. Have a vision (and get buy in)

What do you want to achieve? Now think again. What does success look like for your team in three years’ time? Sell that vision to your group – ask for and incorporate their feedback.  Here’s how a young Brian Clough approached it. It might not work today.

3. Be clear as to how the team feed into the vision

As great as it is to have a vision, the next stage is to be clear from and with your team as to how they can feed into this.

This could cover a myriad of activities – project delivery, marketing, business development, accounts and payroll. Once the team can see how they fit into a vision, they understand how they can share in its success.

4. Understand what is important to each team member

We are all motivated by different things. Money, family, flexibility, praise and career progression all spring to mind.

The key is understanding what is important for each individual and how you can provide the framework to help them achieve what they aspire to – all of which should feed into business success.

As David Brent shows here, it’s definitely not about you:

5. Attitude and enthusiasm are more important than talent

Ever been in a recruitment situation where the best CV was a real disappointment when they came to interview?

Qualifications and ability is a pre-requisite for most roles. However, attitude and enthusiasm are far more difficult to coach.

All attitudes can be contagious. Choose yours. Is it worth catching?

This image helps to sum that up:


6. Problem child

Not every person in every team is easy to manage. This is probably the most challenging (and sometimes most rewarding) aspect of leading and building a team.

Key element to consider. What do / can they contribute? Why can they be ‘difficult’? Take time to understand the individual.

And if you do all that and it’s still not working? Move them on.

7. Have fun, share and enjoy success

Most of us spend the majority of our lives at work. So on that basis it would make sense to enjoy it as much as you can.

We are all guilty of over analysing our failures and under-analysing our successes. If you have a success, enjoy the win! Do something to mark it. Make sure you savour the moment and then look to understand why you won. This will help just as much as when you analyse when you don’t win.

8. The Guy in the Glass

I was given this poem several years ago. It’s written by Dale Wimbrow. I still read it every now and then. It’s quite a good way to keep you humble and honest to yourself, while looking introspectively at what your team see.

9. You have to care

An admission. I take things too personally. I know that, but I embrace it and look to manage it as best I can!

But, I would contend that you have to care and that it is always better to care too much than too little. Your team will feed off your energy, will to win and the fact that this team and your collective efforts are really important to you.

10. Know when to leave the room

This is a difficult one to finish on. Every team tends to have a lifespan. So, whether it’s bringing in fresh blood (and new ideas), or continuing to expand your vision of the team (to motivate you and them) you must always do this to ensure you and the team don’t become stale.


Whether you agree or disagree let me know your thoughts.

And thanks for taking the time to have a read. Here’s to great team building!


Post by James Ealey, Business Development Director

Brian Clough statue image by Alan Feebery

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