Freelo Business Wiki Project Management How to Assemble a Dream Team

How to Assemble a Dream Team

Building a successful team is more than just finding a group of people with the right mix of expertise. Should team members be friends after work? Or should you have a team of only educated people or all extroverts? No, no and no. Let’s find out what the trick is for the most successful project teams and managers – maybe even with some practical tips from a corporate coach.

Teamwork in practice. Source

A project is only as successful as the project team and manager.

What Is the Ideal Composition of a Project Team

Did you think that building a successful team meant bringing together the most knowledgeable and talented people? Wrong. That leaders have been wrong for years is borne out, for example, by Belbin’s research on team dynamics. Among the 8 teams studied, the Apollo team, as he called the group of smartest people, ranked dead last in success rates. Belbin repeated his experiment 25 more times. And the result? Always the same. Google came to a similar conclusion when Aristotle analyzed the behavior of 200 teams in his research.

❓ Why are teams made up of only extremely smart people unsuccessful in the long run?

  • The so-called cult of the omnipotent individual – an exaggerated desire to stand out and always be right – is in effect,
  • there is competition and deliberate withholding of important information,
  • teams tend to have lengthy and ineffective discussions,
  • lack of diversity of personalities,
  • the team prefers to stick to its established routines and is unwilling to make major changes.

So how do you put together a truly successful team? There are plenty of team role theories and research. Some lean towards team diversity, others say it is not an important criterion. Let’s take it one at a time.

Rockstars or Superstars? You need both on your team…

To keep things clear

⭐️ Superstars = Ambitious team members who have the right spirit. They are looking for challenges (and you have to offer them), they want to improve things and grow by leaps and bounds.

🪨 Rockstars = Stable and reliable team members. They do their job well, are happy and consistent, but have no desire for growth. Often, important departments of the company are built on these members without their leaders realizing it


The truth is, you need both types on your team, just as both deserve identical appreciation and recognition. While this is sometimes hard for ambition-charged designers and leaders to understand, there’s nothing wrong with Rockstars not having a desire for career growth. They may be at a certain stage in life, or it may simply not be in their nature to fight for the spotlight. Still, you couldn’t do without their steady performances. Superstars, on the other hand, bring new life and enthusiasm to the team, grow steeply, but don’t stay with companies for very long.

Notice who on your team is a Rockstar and who is a Superstar – approach them accordingly:

  • Motivate both groups, just a little differently: give the Superstars new challenges to tackle, and show the Rockstars that you value their work,
  • reward both groups equally (financially and with regular feedback),
  • let the Rockstars know that there is nothing wrong with their approach to career development (you don’t want Rockstars pretending to be Superstars),
  • give new Superstars a schedule of tasks and challenges so they feel like there’s always something new to do.

📖 TIP:

The author of Radical Candor divides work teams into Rockstars and Superstars. In addition, she gives tips on how to be a good boss and how to start the right company culture. Haven’t read it yet? Then go for it! 🙂

Team Role Theory: Is personality difference important?

According to many theorists, mixing different characteristics and types of people is key to creating the right dynamics in a team. The most widely used method was developed by Meredith Belbin. After 9 years of analyzing management teams, their personality traits and critical thinking skills, he defined 9 roles that should be present in any ideal team. However, this does not mean that a team should have 9 members, one person can easily hold multiple roles.

Do you know what roles you have on your team? And are you missing any important personalities? Try to guess 👇 or take the Belbin test with your colleagues.

Team roles according to Belbin

Role Strengths Weaknesses
Thinking-oriented roles
Innovator creative and imaginative personality, can cope with challenging tasks tends to be preoccupied with their own thoughts, not a team player, can’t keep their perspective
Evaluator strategist, sees around the corner in problem solving, can think through the implications in depth cannot enthuse and inspire others, lacks drive and energy
Specialist a dedicated expert in their own right, providing valuable experience and advice addresses their own interests rather than others‘, contributes only in one narrow area
People-oriented roles
Coordinator confident and capable leader, motivates the team, energizes people and develops their potential may use their skills to manipulate and unnecessarily delegate some of their work to others
Team player Diplomatic, perceptive and a very good team player, builds relationships and diffuses conflict they are indecisive in key situations
Resourcer extroverted, enthusiastic, seeks out contacts, discovers opportunities and is overly optimistic initial enthusiasm can quickly wane
Action-oriented roles
Rectifier Dynamic, goal-oriented, calls for action and can work under pressure not very empathetic, prone to provoke and provoke quarrels
Implementer disciplined, reliable, conservative, follows through with ideas reacts rather slowly to new possibilities and is not very flexible
Completer meticulous, conscientious, meets deadlines and knows how to find every mistake does not like to delegate work and tends to worry excessively

But what to do when the right chemistry in the team just doesn’t work? The science called Socionics can help. In addition to setting out 16 other team roles, it explains very well and comprehensively what makes people different and why they behave the way they do. Therefore, it often helps HR professionals and leaders in selecting team members.


Have everyone on your team take the 16personalities personality test (by the way, it really fits! 👌). Set one day where you intentionally emphasize and exaggerate the typical personality traits that came up on the test.

For example:

  • Are you a Lawyer? Offer legal help to colleagues all day, for example, writing emails.
  • Are you an Advocate? Be overly helpful and nice to your colleagues.
  • Are you an Entertainer? Throw one joke after another at lunch.

The challenge will be to guess the personalities of your colleagues by their demeanor. Don’t forget to share the correct results and read the characteristics of each personality. This will help you understand how to better motivate your team members, how to communicate with them and how they feel in certain situations.

How to Choose the Right People for Your Team

Now that you know what a successful team should be made up of, let’s also figure out what to think about when choosing new colleagues. After all, it’s no longer just about what’s on a candidate’s CV and what title adorns their name.

Selecting the right people for your team is a leader’s responsibility. Today, it is no longer just about expertise, but it is important that the new member fits into the team humanly and that he or she gets along with others. This is something a leader must recognize during the selection process.
Andrea Gawron, trainer, evaluator and coach, NeuroLeadership (Specialists at Brain-Based Coaching)

From experience: How to check if a candidate will fit into your team

Team leaders and good HR professionals know that in addition to hard skills, they need to thoroughly screen a candidate for soft skills and cultural fit. That is, how they will fit in with the team and how they are able to adapt to the established company culture.

🧮 The equation is simple: one jaded member = jaded team = ineffective work = failed project = higher costs, lower profits

Remember that when selecting a new colleague, the ball is first and foremost in your court – in order for the candidate to judge for themselves if they are a good fit for you, you need to clearly define the philosophy you follow in the company.

Once you’ve impressed the candidate, it’s up to them to convince you. Discover the 3 steps that help us at Freelo to select the right people for our team:

1. Instead of a CV form

You can’t usually tell from a fancy CV what a candidate is like – what their interests and priorities in life are. That’s why we’ve been relying on a form for several years now, leaving the candidate completely free. And it works. Thanks to the form…

  • you can easily see if you’re going in the same direction mentally and how the candidate is likely to approach the job,
  • you can see if the candidate is genuinely interested in the role – after all, it does take some time to fill in a form with open-ended questions,
  • you don’t waste time interviewing people who are unlikely to be a cultural fit. In general, we have a philosophy of 3 good interviews rather than 100 useless ones.

2. Practical assignment 

The second step for candidates is a practical assignment, tailor-made for the offered position. It has to be meaningful so that the candidate sees it as an opportunity to show the best of themselves, not as free work. It will answer a lot of questions for you:

  • He is responsible because he sent the assignment by the agreed deadline,
  • he’ll be meticulous at work because he’s done his homework perfectly,
  • has good written language and decent grammar,
  • he’s not afraid to take on challenges,
  • can work independently and can cope with more difficult tasks,
  • you will test the candidate’s skills on tasks that would be routine for him in your company.

3. Interview using the STAR method

After a personal meeting, you should finally get that „this is it!“ feeling. To get to know the candidates in depth, a behavioral interview will help you. It’s a technique based on the idea that if a person has behaved in a certain way in the past, they are likely to repeat their behavior. You find this out by using the STAR method – you ask the candidate questions to describe how they have reacted in specific situations:

  • Situation – In general, what was your role in the project?
  • Tasks – What specific task did you have to complete, what was the goal?
  • Actions – What did you have to do to complete the task successfully?
  • Results – How did the project turn out? Did the outcome differ from expectations?

Behavioral interview questions that will help you get to know the candidate in depth:

  • Can you think of a time when you faced a challenging situation and how you resolved it?
  • When were you really proud of yourself and why?
  • Have you ever had a conflict with a colleague? Over what and how did you resolve it?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you knew your supervisor was wrong? How did you behave?
  • What was the biggest problem for you in your first job?
  • Have you ever been on a team that didn’t work? Do you have any idea where the mistake was?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where a client asked for the impossible? How did you deal with it?
  • Have you ever had too much work that it was interfering with your personal life? How did you handle it?
  • Do you set goals in your work or personal life? Describe how you achieved a particular goal.

Psychological Safety as the No. 1 Priority of All Successful Teams

Did you know that a quarter of Czech employees are dissatisfied at work? It’s not the amount of pay, as you might expect, but the feeling of insecurity. And when an employee is dissatisfied, the whole team is dissatisfied (and therefore unsuccessful). Research by Google’s Aristotle confirmed that all successful teams have one common denominator – psychological safety and security.

Andrea Gawron, who develops top executives at NeuroLeadership, for example, mentions several mistakes that are often repeated by leaders and create a sense of insecurity in the team. Don’t you make them too? 👇

The first social need is certainty. As a leader, if you don’t fulfill that need in people, they will never perform as well. The brain automatically sends them into threat and focuses on negative emotions. It happens when, for example:

  • You tell your employee at 9 a.m., ‚Come to my office at 2.‘ What goes on in their head for the entire 5 hours? Fear of what he’s done. He probably won’t do much work until 2 o’clock because he’ll be focused on the fact that something is wrong. What should you have done differently? Provide enough information – i.e., what will be the subject and outcome of the meeting.
  • Singling out a colleague from a meeting he normally went to. Maybe you just figured that he had already completed his task on the project and there was no need to burden him further. But he’s wondering why he’s not there and what he’s done and not focusing on the work.
  • You barge into a colleague’s office and tell him you need something done right now. This makes it clear to him that you don’t respect his time and you are not equal. How can you do it differently? Make a date that works for both of you.
  • List the mistake the employee made in front of the whole team. This will only humiliate him, make him feel threatened, and he will counterattack and defend himself. However, people should trust you enough to come to you on their own saying that they failed to do something.
    Andrea Gawron, trainer, evaluator and coach, NeuroLeadership

You don’t implement psychological safety in a team overnight. You have to work on it over a long period of time. According to Google research, it has worked in all successful teams:

  1. Communication equality = everyone on the team has equal space to talk
  2. Emotional intelligence = choose people on the team who are sensitive to the feelings and needs of others, the leader should show the same social sensitivity – show understanding and compassion
  3. Listening and responding = everyone can safely express their opinions at any time, for example in regular 1-to-1 sessions with the manager, while feeling that others are listening and interested in them

How do you know that people in your team feel confident and psychologically safe? They:

  • experiment freely and take risks in solving tasks,
  • speak their minds safely,
  • come up with their own ideas,
  • make mistakes and not be afraid of repercussions,
  • confide in a project manager at any time, even with a personal problem that is holding them back,
  • can look into the company’s numbers (transparency makes people more responsible for the operation and success of the project).

Is this description of the team familiar to you, or do you still need to work on it? 💪 Know that with such a team, project management goes without saying.

Koučování zaměstnanců - tipy
When employees feel like you are listening to them, they are more likely to feel better and perform better at work. Source

What (Not) to do to Be a Good Project Manager

It’s been said that people don’t leave a company, they leave their toxic bosses and bad company culture. And while you may not admit it, it is the leader’s responsibility to keep the team functional and happy. Not just by picking good people, but by strengthening relationships and trust.

Before you start trying to motivate people more, stop pissing them off first. Break down what’s bothering them.
Tomas Ervin Dombrovsky, Labor Market Analyst, LMC (Source)

1️⃣ Know your people and use their potential

A leader needs to know people, their strengths and potential and be able to work with them. If you know that one has the pull, make the most of it. The other may need to work with details. Therefore, adjust the roles in the team so that it works as a whole.

Andrea Gawron, trainer, evaluator and coach, NeuroLeadership

This is also why emotional intelligence and effective communication is so important. Listen to your colleagues and then speak. Answer questions directly. Have regular 1-to-1 sessions where you can safely say everything. And last but not least – have teambuilding sessions. When was the last time you had a beer with your team or had breakfast together? 😉

2️⃣ Build mutual trust

Trust is the most important thing to me because if I don’t trust my technical team for example, I am inherently suspicious of them, and vice versa. Building a relationship of trust, and therefore openness, is essential if you want to deliver successful projects.

Andrew Hudson, senior project manager (Source)

📈 A bit of stats:

Teams where people trust each other are 50% more productive, experience 74% less stress, and experience 40% fewer cases of burnout than teams where people are suspicious rather than trusting


Building trust is, of course, a long-term process. You can achieve this by, for example, revealing the cards yourself – be transparent. Talk about project risks, successes and failures. But also – don’t be afraid to get personal. Talk to your team about how you spent the weekend with your family or what progress your kids are making. They’ll sense that they can tell you anything. When you establish a relationship of trust, it works well professionally.

3️⃣ Motivate the whole team and lead by example

A manager should motivate people to come up with their own ideas, think about the problem. At the same time, he should broaden their horizons, consult everything with them and not assign tasks strictly, but give them space to solve it in their own way.

Andrea Gawron, trainer, evaluator and coach, NeuroLeadership

In addition, you should motivate them to work in the right way. Maybe by being committed to the goal yourself and believing in the project 100%. And also – stay calm when solving problems and show the team that they have a strong leader behind them.

4️⃣ Delegate tasks

I often see people come to a leader saying they have a problem without trying to solve it themselves. By doing so, they abdicate any co-responsibility and the boss goes crazy from micromanaging.

Andrea Gawron, trainer, evaluator and coach, NeuroLeadership

We know it’s hard to delegate work to someone else when you really care. Still, it’s nice when you get to a stage with your team where they’re essentially managing themselves and you can just say, „If you need me, you know where to find me.“ Delegation is not just about handing over a task, it’s also about giving the team the opportunity to learn and to feel like they have ownership and ownership of the project.

Never put off until tomorrow something that you can delegate to someone else today. Source

And one more piece of advice from project manager Mira Vlach:

„Balancing a project with a full diary is a struggle on multiple fronts – delegating tasks and projects, knowing how to say no, having the basics of project management down pat, knowing the essential from the non-essential, time savings from repeating projects, etc. And above all, don’t give up…“

Mira Vlach, project management specialist


In Conclusion…

Maybe you feel like doing this sometimes…

Or this…


…but know that every situation always has a solution – for example, with Freelo everything is immediately easier. 🙂

The Freelo team waving from the lower deck 👋 Business Wiki Project Management How to Assemble a Dream Team

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