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Facility Maintenance Decisions
Management Insight: Michael Cowley PAGE Three Secrets of Successful Team Building When Building a Team, Identify Strong and Weak Points

Three Secrets of Successful Team Building

Part 1 of a 2 part Michael Cowley article on building a successful team

By Michael Cowley May 2015 - Maintenance & Operations   Article Use Policy

Anyone who has spent time in leadership and management positions has struggled with this question: How do I build a better team? Even if your team is good to start, all maintenance and engineering managers understand the need for their departments to work more efficiently. With a more skilled and qualified team, you can accomplish things faster, more safely, at a lower cost, and with greater customer service.

The process of analyzing your existing team and making improvements is difficult. We are busy with the daily tasks, problems, and responsibilities. At the same time, we face challenges related to improving the performance and productivity of your management team. It is a daunting task and probably the reason many managers decide to allow things to continue as they always have.

The obvious problem with this tactic is that if we are not moving forward and getting better, more than likely we are moving backward. If we continue down that path, it leads to program and process stagnation and ultimate failure.

How do we improve the management team so it performs at the highest possible level? At least 10 key steps can help develop a best-in-class management team, but here are three secrets that are essential to teambuilding.

People who need people

The first secret involves the hiring process. Many of you might think hiring is not that important. Maybe you feel you do not have control of the process. In reality, hiring is the most important component in improving your management team.

A successful hiring process has many pieces. Before even starting the hiring process, you need to rethink the interviewing process. To interview well, first understand the kind of individual you want — the type of worker that can meet the department’s needs. Establish detailed job descriptions and responsibilities, which are the foundations of the hiring process. Without these, you have no idea what you are looking for. Once you have a very good idea of the desired skills and personality traits, you can create the interview process. Here are the key steps in successful interviewing:

  • Review resumes in detail, looking for accuracy and quality.
  • Perform extensive interviews using peers and other members of management to assist.
  • Check references closely, even using social media, assuming this is acceptable within your human resources policies.
  • Contact previous employers for work histories and performance. Ask, “Would you hire this person back?” If there is a pause in the conversation or the answer is no, look for additional information.
  • Validate the candidate’s experience, looking for unexplained voids in the work history, which can indicate other problems.
  • Ask about the candidate’s vision of the future. Where does he or she want to be in five years?
  • Ask about outside activities. Also, is he or she a leader, self-starter, etc.?
  • What is the overall attitude and demeanor? Will they fit into the existing management team and culture?
  • What kind of questions do they ask of you? A good candidate also will interview you.

If the job is technical in nature, you need to validate the candidate’s skill level. Consider aptitude and or skill testing where appropriate.

Keep in mind that the hiring process can be done only once. Do over’s don’t happen. So be prepared, take time to do it right, and involve others in the interviewing process. Using potential peers to assist in the process can be a big advantage. Make sure anyone involved in the interview process is properly trained and prepared to handle such a sensitive issue.


Continue Reading: Management Insight: Michael Cowley

Three Secrets of Successful Team Building

When Building a Team, Identify Strong and Weak Points



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