If you’re unhappily employed, underemployed, or unemployed, this post is for you. No, it won’t lead to real change unless the people listed in the next paragraph read it, understand it, and choose to become quintessential leaders in this area (my hope), but it will explain what’s happening now and hopefully it will spur you to think creatively about how to present yourself to organizations as a prospective team member.

Likewise, if you’re in talent acquisition in a human resources department or you’re in a leadership position with decision-making responsibility for building a team or teams, this post is also for you. My hope is that you take it to heart and make the changes necessary to build new teams and add to existing teams.

As I’ve said often, quintessential leaders think outside of the box in every area of life. In addition, they are big-picture thinkers. Because of that, they approach building their teams from a completely different perspective than unquintessential leaders. 

Here is how they (and, we, who are quintessential leaders) do it.

They recognize that there are a lot of intangibles, more commonly known as soft skills, that factor into the team-building process on both sides of the equation. For quintessential leaders, those intangibles include intuition, perceptiveness, and connection. For prospective team members, those intangibles are the connections between what they’ve done and who they are and the strengths that they bring to the table.

Notice how important connections are on both sides in the team-building process.

Quintessential leaders are excellent at taking what may seem to be many disparate pieces of information (employment and life experiences, for example, that may look completely unrelated and, on paper, may not look like a fit at all) and seeing them as a whole and extracting from that big picture a prospective team member’s interests, capabilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses.

For prospective team members, it’s important to lay out those connections both in writing (your resume and your cover letters) and in the interview process. If you do this, then whether you get responses to your requests to be considered as an addition to teams depends on whether the prospective employers have any quintessential leaders in the team-building areas of their organizations.

quintessential leaders building teamsI can tell you, from my experience on both sides of this that, unfortunately, there are currently very few quintessential leaders in the team-building areas in most organizations, but my hope is that this post may change that.

What else do quintessential leaders do in the process of building their teams?

They look at competencies (i.e., what is this person good at doing?) and the short-term and long-term needs of teams. These are not specific skills per se, like knowing specific programming languages or specific software packages, but instead they are the strengths and capabilities of the prospective team member.

What are some examples of competencies?

One example is diversity in experience (work in a lot of different types of organizations), which shows a strong aptitude and willingness to change, learn, and grow. The less diversity in experience, in general, the less flexible and adaptable the prospective team member will probably be. And that could negatively affect the necessary growth of the team in the long-run.

Another example is what a prospective team member is doing while seeking employment (volunteer work, completing meaningful projects, etc.), which shows, most importantly, initiative and also a desire and willingness to work and be productive, even if there is no compensation. That’s an invaluable and unquantifiable asset for and addition to any team.

Quintessential leaders, in building their teams, also look at personality and temperament in prospective team members. Often one of the biggest reasons that teams fail is because of personality and temperament issues. I don’t care how many skills or how much education someone has on paper, if his or her personality and/or temperament will cause friction and fissures in a team, then he or she should not be added to the team.

Most people with responsibility for team-building, in my experience, never consider this and, as a result, they end up with disastrous results. Over and over again. Temperaments and personalities that contribute to and enhance teams are that important!

Because quintessential leaders look at the big picture in every part of their lives, another unique part of their team-building techniques is the ability to see other areas where a prospective team member might fit well if he or she is not a good fit for the position he or she applied for. 

Most people in leadership positions with team-building responsibilities never look beyond the positions they need to fill right then, and by doing that, they do a big disservice to the organizations they work for because excellent team member candidates get ignored or dismissed (in practical terms, the resume goes in the garbage can) by this narrow vision of immediate needs.

But the most unique thing that quintessential leaders do to build their teams is to look at a prospective team member’s potential. Not just the prospective team member they see in front of them at that moment, but an aggregate view of what potential that person has to be and become in the long-term.

I’ve hired many people over the years based on their potential, and, after hands-on coaching and working with them, they not only met the potential I recognized, but in many cases, exceeded it. That’s a win-win for everybody.

So the question I pose to everyone reading this is “are you a quintessential leader in the way you build your teams?”

If not, why? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it from today forward?

If you are in some ways and not in other ways, what needs to change so that you are in all ways?

And, if you are in every aspect, then kudos! Keep up the good work!

  1. […] “How Quintessential Leaders Build Teams,” we discovered what quintessential leaders look for in the people they choose for their […]


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  3. […] an environment that is competitive destroys any hope of building a team that is cohesive, well-structured according to the talents and abilities needed, and that is […]


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