As a leader, you are the steward of your company culture, not just by setting a good example, but by fostering the desired behaviors, eliminating factors that challenge your culture, and by hiring people who are great fits. Of course, you want to make sure that a new hire brings the right skill set to the table, but even the most competent employee can negatively impact the company if they are not a cultural fit. In fact, a high performer who is not aligned can harm the company even more than a low performer. Generally, you can teach someone how to do things, but you can’t teach them how to be. Here are some behaviors that people who you want on your team, regardless of their position, display on a consistent basis.
They only make one assumption
Other than assuming good intent when communicating with a team member, you want to keep assumptions to a minimum, as they are rarely productive. People who you want on your team focus on what they know to be true instead of making assumptions. Compare those two statements:
A: “Jackie really doesn’t like me, and she always tries to make me look bad.”
B: “Jackie pointed out these three shortcomings of my presentation.”
Who would you rather work with?
They squash drama
No-drama people are a gem, especially when they not only refrain from causing drama themselves, but they actively help you curb it by redirecting other’s mindsets. Cy Wakeman’s approach of reality based leadership is an excellent guide on how to do that. If you have someone on your team who people generally gravitate to in order to air grievances or gossip, you need to step in. The “meeting after the meeting” is rarely a good thing. If you can count on someone to ask pointed questions, such as “What do you know for sure?”, “What are you going to do about it?”, you have someone you can work with.
They focus on what they can control
The locus of control is one of the most underrated characteristics in a great team member. They focus on what they can control, such as their work ethic and their attitude. They fully realize that there’s no use in worrying about other factors, such as the economy or the competition. They don’t see themselves as victims of circumstance, but firmly believe that what they can control will be enough, and they act accordingly.
They seek alignment and accountability
Employee engagement can be defined as the degree to which the employee’s goals and the company’s goals are aligned. Therefore, it is crucial for you as a manager to have your finger on the pulse of both. The team members who are on board with your vision will actively seek alignment and suggest ways in which they can optimally contribute are most certainly worth supporting. A fully engaged employee thrives on accountability, so be sure to work with them on measurable, ambitious goals and milestones.
They do what’s necessary
Remember when companies used to look for “rockstars”? I never liked the term, because it implied that you were only looking for people who were commanding the spotlight. What you really want is people who understand and support with your vision and your mission, and who are willing to do what’s necessary to get there. It doesn’t mean that you’re expecting everyone to work 60+ hours a week. But, provided that you hold up your end of the bargain by giving your employees freedom and flexibility as long as the goals are met, you should be able to expect that they do what it takes to achieve the agreed-upon outcomes. And yes, this may include things that are not in their job descriptions.
What about you? What are the behaviors that you look for in a team member?