Tips for project managers: How to choose the right team members for your project

Annalena Simonis, Wednesday 11 March 2020 | Reading time: 4 min.

Teamwork can be either a blessing or a curse for a project if you don’t find the right team members. Find out which characteristics you should consider when choosing individual team members to facilitate successful teamwork and as a result successful project management.

Projects are rarely carried out by one person. Why do project managers consistently rely on teamwork? The biggest advantages of working in a group are obvious. By bringing together different professional skills, the effort of every single employee can be reduced and therefore the strength of each individual can be better integrated into the project. Through constant interaction and regular exchange within the group, more ideas are generated, and the creativity of the entire team increases.

Besides several benefits, working in a team can also be challenging. For example, group communication can be a very time-consuming process, especially if the group is too large and you want to be sure to take the contribution of each individual seriously. If teams are too heterogeneous, different values, expectations and behaviors can affect the workflow negatively and it’s difficult to find a consent.

 

So how do you put a team together correctly from the beginning to avoid possible disagreements and interpersonal frictions during the project phase within the group? In addition to professional skills, a certain level of social competence should also be a prerequisite for each team member. The following characteristics should be taken into consideration when choosing the right team members: 

1. Appreciation

Every team member can appreciate the performance of others and communicates this appreciation openly. Team members give and take constructive feedback freely. No role is taken for granted and everybody does their best to complete the project successfully.

2. Tolerance

Each team member must respect others and occasionally take on the role of "follower". Even if the group rejects the own idea, everyone needs to accept the decision and continue working under the new circumstances. Respectful interaction with each other must be a matter of course for every team member.

3. Altruism

Especially extroverted members of the group should be able to make concessions to their own goals and interests. Ideally, the team should achieve a feeling of community in which everyone pulls together towards a common goal. This goal is the project’s success.

4. Long-term thinking

An important factor here is the willingness to make personal investments without expecting immediate success. Right from the start there is a defined objective, which the team wants to bring to long-term success. Individual profit should take a backseat to achieving the common goal. 

5. Ability to trust

In order to work productively together, the individual team members have to trust in the competence and diligence of the other team members. Trusting each other prevents unnecessary work steps and thus also solves problems in time management. Furthermore, it is equally important to have trust in oneself and to take on tasks with the necessary self-confidence.

6. Willingness to face challenges

The whole team should have the same motivation. The interest in achieving the project goal is more important than personal prestige and status. The group is driven by the desire for new challenges and the ambition to contribute something relevant. 

 

In practice, project teams are often still put together primarily based on the professional skills of the individuals. In order to optimize the workflow, however, the modern project manager should also pay special attention to the soft skills of the members.

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