5 Key Qualities You Need On Your Team

When you’re hiring for an open role on your team, you have a list of qualifications that you’re screening candidates against. But in addition to whatever job-specific requirements you’re looking for, there are some other qualities that you want in any new hire, no matter what their position is. Here are five key qualities that you should screen for in building your team.

A determination to get results.  You want team members who care about the real impact of their work, rather than appearances. You want people who will persist when they run into roadblocks that might deter the average person, who will scrutinize ideas to make sure that they’ll get the best outcome, and who will hold themselves accountable to getting done whatever they’re there to get done.

Decency. You want people on your team who will treat others as they’d want to be treated themselves – people who won’t be rude, dismissive, arrogant to clients or colleagues. You want people who give others the benefit of the doubt, who respect opinions that differ from their own, who can handle disagreement civilly, and who genuinely care about other people.

A desire for continuous improvement. You want team members whose determination to be successful will lead them to being fairly ruthless when it comes to identifying ways they could perform better. You’ll recognize this trait when you find people who are open about their flaws and fairly obsessive about learning from experience – people who want to incorporate those lessons into practice and be as effective as possible.

Communicative. If you’ve ever worked with someone who didn’t speak up about problems or made it difficult for coworkers to approach her to talk about work, you know why this one is important. You want team members who operate with transparency, seek out input from others, and welcome the interaction that makes teams function more smoothly. You don’t want a team member whose instinct is to bury a problem and hope no one will notice – or who will figure, “Well, if they wanted to know that we were way over-budget on this project, they should have asked me.”

A sense of possibility. You want people who are engaged in their work and approach it with a sense of possibility, rather than people whose first instinct is to say “we can’t do that.” (This doesn’t mean that “we can’t do that” is never the right answer; sometimes it is. But you want team members who don’t start from that assumption.)  This will get you a team more likely to embrace rather than avoid challenges and to persist in the face of setbacks rather than giving up easily.















Alison Green

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the co-author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.

More Posts

  • The Other Dawn

    Decency is a big one. You can have all the other qualities, but if you’re an a$$hole, that usually negates the others.

    [Reply]

    Alison Green - Ask a Manager Reply:

    100% true. Should be a deal-breaker.

    [Reply]

  • CrazyFor Kate

    I’m really trying to work at the transparency one. It’s just sometimes so hard to talk to your boss about a problem! That’s an ongoing project, I fear.

    [Reply]

    Alison Green - Ask a Manager Reply:

    One thing that can be helpful is to look at how your boss has reacted when problems were raised in the past (assuming they were raised in a calm, reasonable way).

    [Reply]

  • Mary Jo

    Anyone have good method of screening for these?

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Decency is My Favorite Quality | Cheryl Becker