The energy from an otherwise dynamic job interview was fading, and as I was driving home, I was still processing the surprising question:

“Can you be a bitch?” I was speechless.

I had considered the question for another moment and answered “No, and I wouldn’t hire someone who could”, because the behaviour I attribute to a “bitch” is not something I associate with that of a person who is competent, cooperative, and good at cooperating.

To have a decent and friendly attitude should not be confused with a lack of robustness and an ability to make hard decisions and act on them. To me, that is a completely wrong take on what characterises a successful manager, non-manager, and organisation. No one wants to report to and have to cooperate with a person who does not treat them decently.

You have to carefully consider which types of people you attract and choose, and not least which competency profiles you put together in teams, and under which manager. And you need to keep in mind that the makeup of this distribution is a significant factor in every manager’s ability to succeed.

Interpersonal skills and willingness to cooperate are some of the primary competences you should look for. Strengths such as robustness, drive, the ability to execute, and competitiveness can get out of hand and become weaknesses if exaggerated. They can lead to an organisational battlefield.

Recognising that team dynamics is a crucial parameter for the success of sales teams (as well as other teams at Trustpilot), we have turned recruitment upside down.

We have chosen to put together high-performance sales teams based on individual profile analyses so that the right team is built from the bottom up, and refers to the sales manager who is best suited to promote and maintain performance in that specific team.

Sales reps were previously seen as individualists, which is true as well, but they are also mutually dependent on each other and the energy they create as a whole, and this dynamic can generate more sales.

Sub-optimising, “bitch behaviour” and egos don’t belong anywhere – including on the sales floor. Correspondingly, a high performance sales team is not just made up of one type of top sales profile, as that kind of profile does not generate energy for the surrounding sales reps. In the worst case, if there are too many of the same personality type on the one team, it brings down the energy level. As a result, there is no team spirit.

Today, we know exactly which type of sales rep or manager we need to hire when a position needs to be filled. 

We no longer use “one size fits all” recruitment, because the consequence of that is that “one size fits nobody”.

The success behind team diversity – rather than homogeneity – has therefore shown that we need each other’s differences in order to bloom individually.