I’m always examining situations to see what makes a successful team work well. Is it a group of super technically adept folks, all working together, or is it more important to have the soft skills – communication, humility, and problem solving – that trump the person who can write code in their sleep?
Lately I’ve been thinking that soft skills are a lot more important. I’ve done interviews with people for fairly technical positions and though it hasn’t been popular at some companies, i’m more interested in someone I can have a conversation with, sit down at a table and hash out ideas and solutions, and just genuinely get along well with. It seems more important to me that people get along and can be part of a team that checks egos at the door and can really dig into the meat of an issue and not introduce the factors that kill teamwork – lack of acceptance of accountability, and an unwillingness to stretch ideas and concepts without worrying about how it’ll make them look.
The truest sense of a team is a group of people that are willing to look at the problem or issue, agree on solutions, and get the work done without any of the extra BS that slows things down or contributes to misunderstanding or leading things down the wrong path. If you are lucky enough to get really technically savvy people who are humble and love what they do, always look for ways to keep that team together.
Give me someone who is willing, eager, and wanting to learn any day over the pompous guru who thinks they are above it all. Sure, maybe they can get things done, but do you need/want that kind of poison on a team?