4 Must Have Characteristics of People You Want On Your Team

How do you respond when your order is wrong at a restaurant?

Are you cool with it? Passive aggressive? Kind to the wait staff? Total jerk?

While you may think that is none of my business, your reaction could cost you a job or seal the deal at one national brokerage firm. 

Walt Bettinger, the CEO of Charles Schwab, has an oddly brilliant way of vetting potential candidates for his team: He takes them to dinner, ensures their order will be wrong, and studies their response. 

He says questions can only reveal so much about a person, and his messed up meal approach is "just another way to look inside their heart rather than their head." The Schwab CEO states, "What I am looking for is whether their view of the world really revolves around others or whether it revolves around them." 


While I will steal this move from Bettinger, we should learn from his motive. He does not want just anyone on his team. It is vital to look below the surface of talent, skill and qualifications to determine the true character of a person.

Leaders are investors. Our capital is influence. You invest in people; especially those on your team. Before you invest into a person, I want to give you 4 often looked-over qualities that need to be present.

Are they HUMBLE?

Arrogance is only attractive to the one who possesses it. It is the selfie of leadership. You want people on your team who lead with confident humility. Humility enables a person to put others before themselves, resist feelings of entitlement, and passionately fight for their cause while still submitting to authority.

Are they HUNGRY?

You can afford to pull people back but don't have time to push them forward. Seek out people who have an insatiable desire to grow. Hunger is the unsung hero of leadership characteristics. Those who stay scrappy, fight to figure things out and never pass blame need to be on your team. A good litmus test for hunger is rarely hearing someone turn down a challenge.

Are they SMART?

I don't use the term "smart" to reflect intellect alone, it is much deeper. Is the person a problem solver? Do they land on the problem side or solution side of an issue? Are they easily thrown when multiple issues are thrown at them? Is their social bandwidth enough to function in a crowded room where they know no one? Can they grasp a difficult concept and make it simple? One other key to look for: System IQ. How often have they understood and had success in a system that did not require their charisma to excel? 

Are they HONEST?

Honesty is the lifeblood of a healthy team. Before someone steps on your team you need to know if they possess honesty? Some would call this character. Are they who they say they are when no one is looking? Do they do what they promise they will do? Do they respond well when held accountable? If any of those answers are "no", run from that person. You want people with nothing to hide on your team. Next, does this person give honesty away? Make sure they are truth-tellers. Teams function best when they go the last 10% with one another. Find out how many difficult conversations they have had in the past month. None? Avoid that person. Uncomfortable honesty will push your team towards health while terminal niceness will limit your abilities.

Adding the right people to your team sets great leaders apart from good ones. Go deeper than a resume by making sure these qualities exist.