3 tips for building a solid leadership team

Leaders need a network of teams to run a successful enterprise, but the first and most essential team every chief must build is his or her own leadership team. 

Kerry Healey, president of Babson College in Babson Park, Mass., wrote in Fortune every leader needs a strong support system to provide him or her with a variety of perspectives and help identify opportunities.

Here are three tips for building a strong leadership team, according to Ms. Healey.

1. The first step is identifying your weaknesses. Before selecting others to join the team, leaders must go through an honest process of self-evaluation.

"The leader must be open to a humble assessment of his or her own strengths and weaknesses mapped against the qualities, knowledge and experience necessary to succeed," Ms. Healey wrote. While there are tools and programs available to guide leaders through this process, the most effective leaders understand this facet of team building innately and are naturally drawn toward advisors and partners who fulfill skills or competencies they lack themselves.

2. "They are not merely there to row, but also to help you steer," Ms. Healey wrote. Leadership teams should include the most talented people a leader can attract. To leverage each member's unique capabilities, it is critical for the leader to show them genuine respect, according to Ms. Healey. Ensuring all members are recognized for the skills they bring to the table is important for achieving cohesion and preventing competition.

Moreover, teams that include people with a variety of strengths and skills are less likely to fall into "group think" and will be better prepared to participate in honest and open dialogue with the leader.

3. Provide clear standards and expectations. Leaders can promote a transparent and trusting dynamic among team members by providing standards about team values and behavior. Ms. Healey suggests stating up front "there will be no tolerance for personal agendas, internecine battles, off-line discussions or midnight email rants."

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