I recently watched a UK talk show where Tom Hanks and Ron Howard were guests. Howard, director of many of Hanks’s most successful films, was asked what he liked about working with Hanks. His response was that he appreciated two qualities in Hanks—confidence and creativity.
This got me thinking. What makes us want to work with certain people? If we could choose our dream team, what would we look for? It would most likely depend on the task at hand—and, most likely, everyone’s team would be a bit different. That being said, I made a list of what I would look for if I were forming a team.
Each person I choose would:
- Have respect for one another and for me.
- Get on with things and think outside the box.
- Feel free to ask for help if needed.
- Have a solution in mind when coming to me with a problem.
- Be organized and adhere to timelines.
- Have a skill set that matches the tasks at hand.
Now I’d like you to have a think about who would be on your dream team and what qualities they would possess. Is your list of qualities the same as mine or a little different?
In reality, of course, very rarely do we get to choose our teams. More often, teams are chartered and we learn about team dynamics as well as individual qualities of each team member after the fact. The entire team then begins the important work of understanding one another and building on each other’s strengths—which leads to the trust and confidence Ron Howard described.
Taking a minute to understand what we value, and to ask new teammates about their values, can be a great way to begin opening up to the contributions we need from others.
Practice this little exercise. It helped me get clearer on what I want from the teams I work on. I think it will help you, too.