In any work environment, new teammates or employees need to be picked with careful consideration as a wrong hire risks threatening office balance or even worse, affecting the entire team’s morale and productivity. After all, the temperament and emotional intelligence of each team member can be crucial to how efficient and effective the business is as a whole.
As a young entrepreneur who does not have a wealth of experience weeding out potentially bad additions, it’s essential to know what traits and skills to look for in order to identify the right fit for the team. To aid younger professionals, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain the nonnegotiable traits they look for in their employees or teammates and why they are so important.
1. The Will To Practice Radical Candor
We’re not all master communicators, but we all know that how we collaborate depends on how well we can communicate. That’s why I always look for people who are willing to practice and improve. One way that we’ve found to be very effective for training ourselves and our teammates is to practice Radical Candor, which is a book and method created by Kim Scott. By being willing to say the hard things and continuing to care for one another personally, we’re able to grow as a team and do the things that need to be done. This isn’t a skill or a trait that we all learn in school, but the willingness to practice it makes someone a winner. – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly
2. The Desire To Learn
The best partnerships are built on the ability to learn and grow both personally and professionally. I look for teammates that recognize that they don’t have all the answers and are willing to improve. Someone who comes into a position believing that they know everything there is to know about the role will never be able to see creative solutions for our clients or ways to improve our internal processes. Team members with a growth mindset are the people that continue to improve as a leader and push me to be better, too. Together, we can adapt as the industry changes, clients have new demands and the business evolves and improves. – Katie Wagner, KWSM: a digital marketing agency
3. Alignment With Your Core Values
Our company core values are absolutely central to the work we do with our clients. There are only a few of them and they aren’t traits that every effective employee would necessarily have, for example, servant leadership. Through our interview process, we assess candidates to ensure strong alignment with these values and if even one is missing or questionable, we won’t make the hire. When a team member embodies these values deeply, they are invariably a good match for our company culture and also prove highly successful in their client work. – Madeleine Niebauer, vChief
4. Belief In Overall Company Goals
You’d tremble if the pilots flying your plane lacked confidence in the plane’s ability to get there. Why bring in talent who doesn’t believe in your company’s end goal? While this vision can be difficult to pinpoint early on, we’ve found some useful tips to ensure everyone on the team maintains a consistent “North Star.” First, come to an agreement of the basic concept, and be clear and concise when explaining high-level company goals. Next, use a trial period to remain aligned. We have personal development (PD) chats to ensure that all parties are in sync with the company and their career goals. Finally, practice stellar cross-communication. Buy-in occurs when everyone has top-level confidence that all the moving pieces will eventually align. – Cooper Harris, Klickly
Though often seen as challenging, people who possess the rebellious trait are those who push against norms and “how things are done.” If you know how to harness that strength within a teammate, it can make your entire company very innovative. While other companies might fear the rebel, it can be a competitive edge to employ one. Their talent can really shine in times of conflict or distress while challenging the status quo and business as usual. – Sunny Bonnell, Motto
6. Acceptance Of Change
Change is inevitable and innovation is a necessary part of growth in business. One critical skill in teammates that are able to last the long haul is ideally an acceptance and a mindset of embracing change. While adherence to systems and following the orders and regulations of your specific business is always at the forefront of your mind, without change-makers, business plans and company morale can easily stagnate. Teammates that have the ability to let go of established processes in favor of attempting to grow and improve the company through new techniques will always be some of your most critical staff for keeping your business evolving and agile. – Darby Cox, Darby Cox LLC
7. Ability To Relate To Others
Anyone can wish for personality traits like hard work ethic, grit and determination—that’s easy stuff for today’s generation and influencers like Gary V and Grant C make these buzzwords incredibly trendy. Unfortunately, because we’re aware of these trends, we think that hiring motivated talent will help us “crush” our objectives. It’s overrated. Instead of looking for the next great person crushing it, look for someone who has the ability to put their perspective on hold and relate to others in a way that brings people together toward a common goal rather than to simply outwork the competition. Look for someone with creative insights on how to work less and more intelligently, while building strategic relationships. Intellect directed with purpose outworks the hard worker every time. – Klyn Elsbury, MK Foundation
Coachability is hands down the most important trait among team members. When employers dedicate themselves to coaching employees, everything improves. Communication lines open up, resentments are few and far between and because employees know where they stand, it empowers their confidence to make decisions. Those who are coachable have learned to check their ego at the door. They realize they are not always right and don’t pretend to know everything. They are often willing to learn, grow and expand their horizons. Due to the lack of ego, they contribute to the team, creating an awesome culture. Once they get experience being coached, they are often equipped with the tools to be able to turn around and coach others, offering them the confidence to expand their contribution to the company. – Laura Fortey, REITIUM Technologies Ltd