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How to Choose the Right Employee or Business Partner?

Choosing the right employee or business partner can make an enormous impact on whether you prosper or flounder as a business owner.

Often when employers look to hire someone, or when entrepreneurs want to find a business partner, in their search, they often miss certain character traits in a person that can make the difference between mediocre or excellent.

In Pat Lencioni’s book “The Ideal Team Player” he identifies three virtues of the ideal team player:  

  • Humble – A humble person can admit their mistakes, take on lower-level work for the good of the business, gladly share credit when due, and accept apologies graciously.
  • Hungry – A person who does more than required has a passion for the team mission, takes on tedious or challenging tasks whenever necessary, willing to contribute, and think about work outside of business hours, and finally, stretch outside their comfort zone.
  • Smart – A person who has common sense around people. They understand what others are feeling during conversations, show empathy when appropriate, demonstrate an interest in others on the team, attentive listeners, and adjust their behavior and style to fit the nature of the conversation o relationship.

A prospective employee or partner needs at least two of these virtues to add lasting value to a team or business.

I believe humility is the most important virtue, along with being hungry. These virtues are difficult to develop in a person. You often either have them, or you don’t.

CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

The virtue of smart does not mean a high academic IQ. It is emotional intelligence, how smart you are when dealing with people. Most competent people can be trained to improve their skills. It’s the common-sense when dealing with people and making the right decisions that are less trainable, which are typically a part of a person’s character.


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