Spidey Goes to Work

The concept of the “super-team” is the heart and soul of countless comic books and movies: a unique group of individuals that come together, despite their different backgrounds, to make something great happen. From rescue missions to heists, we are infatuated with the idea of assembling the perfect group for the task – and it’s no different in the workplace.

As managers, it’s important to remember that a truly great super-team is all about balance. Each individual brings a specific super-talent to the table, as an expert in his or her particular domain. And when these unique individuals come together and rally around a common goal they become an unstoppable force.

Here are a few key super-hires to consider when drafting your own super-team: 

The Commander 

Superpowers: Vision, Inspiration

Every super-team starts with a fearless leader – the one who sets the goal, charts the course and rallies the team. If you are the one in charge of hiring said super-team this is the natural role for you to adopt. Since you know what you are looking to accomplish, you have critical insight into whom you should hire and how to make it happen.

However, don’t force yourself into this role. You may find that you are a great facilitator, but when it comes to vision and inspiration, you fall short. This is OK, as it’s never a bad thing to lean on others in your group for help. Recognize the natural leaders in your group and give them the opportunity to shine. If you’ve hired good talent, you may find that team members take turns playing the role of The Commander.

The Sharp Shooter

Superpowers: Focus, Execution, Consistency

Next, you need a dependable ace – the person you trust to take on a project and do something amazing with it. If you give them a target to hit, more often than not, they'll deliver a bullseye. Sharp Shooters come from many different backgrounds and can range from hyper-specialists to hyper-generalists, but one thing's for certain: The Sharp Shooter will quickly become your most trusted resource. They are often expensive, but they are well worth the investment.

What makes this type of team member thrive? Support and trust, and lots of it. Sharp Shooters take pride in their craft and will continually look to improve their skills, so be sure to acknowledge them as the subject matter experts that they are.

The Hummingbird

Superpowers: Speed, Multi-Tasking, Resourcefulness

This role is invaluable in the startup and technology worlds. When being first-to-market is advantageous, the ability to move quickly is often the key to success. Look to hire someone whose resourceful and nimble nature can produce an MVP with whatever timeline they are afforded.

The Hummingbird is a problem-solver. They thrive under pressure and have an innate ability to see clarity in the chaos. Their mottos is: “The simplest option is often the best option.” So use them to your advantage when you need to deliver something quick. However, be wary of over-utilizing them. Since Hummingbirds operate on short, high-energy cycles, it can be easy for them to burn out if you keep them too busy.

The Cloud Nine

Superpower: Perspective, Ideas

The ability to challenge the status quo is often overlooked and undervalued in the hiring process. But if you plan on building a true super-team, you’ll need to hire someone who can operate at a lofty 10,000-foot view and identify new ways of doing things. This is a job for The Cloud Nine.

Perspective is critical when determining how to best tackle a problem, and The Cloud Nine is always working the angles. They are your in-house dreamer and your “what if” connoisseur. Hand them a project or problem, and they’ll come back with 50 different approaches to solving it. Have them work with your Sharp Shooters and Hummingbirds to develop the best overall strategy, and they will up everyone’s game. Look for people who are exceptionally creative in how they approach a problem or task. Applicants with backgrounds in psychology, sociology or any other social science are typically great candidates.

The Translator

Superpowers: Persuasion, Communication

This role is key for teams that wrangle many different types of stakeholders on a day-to-day basis. Like any good world traveler, The Translator is able to get the point across no matter the environment or audience. They have an uncanny ability to hold conversations with nearly any employee and are in constant contact with many different departments.

They may be average workers when it comes to what they produce, but their true value comes from how well they can communicate. Use your Translator to gather information on the key priorities of other teams, so you can better understand how to work with them. They are your ambassador to others in the company and can help establish meaningful relationships with other teams.

Everyone’s Super-Team Is Different

The most important thing to keep in mind is that these super-hires don’t need to play only one of the roles I’ve listed above. You’ll often find people who are “The Cloud Nine” by day, but can play “The Sharp Shooter” when necessary. These skillsets are not mutually exclusive, and you’ll often find that many top hires bring a wide array of super skills to the table. You can hire all “Hummingbirds” or a few of each. Or identify your own super-hires beyond the ones listed here.

The important thing is hiring so that every team member you bring on has something to unique to offer.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Eneas