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  • Troy Flanagan

How to choose the right team to work for

Updated: Jul 9, 2022

One of the keys to a successful tenure in professional sport is finding the right team to work for. The team's culture and management is what you should look for rather than aiming to work for the team with the biggest name or brand. When you consider a new role, how thoroughly do you find out who you are about to work for and how they operate before you apply or accept the role?

Nobody wants to work in an environment where you either don't have support, the culture is not focused on winning, you have a tough coach/GM/owner to work for, or work in a team where there is constant turnover of staff. This can create a turbulent and uncertain environment. Sometimes you see great professionals go into a team and get pushed back out fairly quickly. Some go in knowing the environment and culture they are about to work in. I get the feeling, however, that some professionals don't know enough about the team culture and working environment before accepting offers.

This post, therefore, outlines some tips for evaluating a team before you accept a new role. Choose your team wisely.

Finding the right fit

We all want to work in an environment where you are given every chance to succeed, you have great people around you and you have a good boss who supports you. List out what’s important to you in a role and figure out if the team or role can meet those requirements.

Ask good questions and listen

Ask what the biggest challenges have been recently. Get to know what the lines of communication are, what the roles and responsibilities of each area and where do they overlap. Support from senior management and ownership is important, so asking questions about that will also give you insight on how challenges are dealt with when they arise.

Use your network

Continuity of staff is a good sign. However that doesn’t always mean things are great. Conversely, turnover may not reflect dysfunction. Ask around about which teams are progressive, have a good culture and support the long-term development of their staff. Your networks and contacts will help you understand this. Go into an interview with an open mind, since the gossip and chatter through the networks may not always be accurate.

Be Patient

If you suspect the culture or staff dynamic isn’t good, don’t be afraid to decline the opportunity. If you are good, there will be another opportunity. It often pays to sit and wait for the right opportunity. A brave move like this can really pay off in the long term.

Having said all of this, there is no perfect team. Every team has its challenges. However, it is important to understand what they are on the front end to set yourself up for success.

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