Initially, it sounds best to have only talented (in their specific professional domains) people at hand. But then there's the fact that talented people want creative, non-routine work. Unless they have average employees as assistants for the mundane work, then, maybe, they would hardly get any work done... And talented people, if all in the same field, might get competitive in a bad way.

Is there an optimal ratio of talented vs average people in a team?

  • I'm very interested to hear any compelling argument for anything other than N:0. As long as the question is optimal and not feasible.
    – Adam Wuerl
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 2:02
  • @ Adam Wuerl - sorry, I did not get you, what should "for anything other than N:0" mean?
    – drabsv
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 10:30
  • Is there an optimal ratio of talented vs. average people in a team? I would say yes: the optimal ration is N talented people and 0 average people, for a ratio of talented:average::N:0. All great people and no average ones. Don't see how it could get much more optimal than that.
    – Adam Wuerl
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 4:37
  • @Adam Wuerl - the context of the question is whether talented people could easily get along with each other given the possible clash of their creative pursuits (e.g. a lot of loeaders and few followers) and other possible situations like that. Talent in one's professional field does not equal talent in productive workplace relations.
    – drabsv
    Commented Nov 11, 2013 at 16:07
  • Fair, my answer was pretty glib. Your concern is not without standing. That said, my experience is that a team really can get the most done with all highly talented people. It is true that sometimes groups of talented people can have personalities that won't mesh. But I've found the right answer is to change the makeup of the team to find great people who all get along. That's a better solution than finding a mediocre person (or a great person in the wrong role) to fill the gaps.
    – Adam Wuerl
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 5:32

2 Answers 2


Read this: http://www.managementpsychology.com/articles/when-too-many-smart-people-spoil-the-team-the-apollo-effect-in-the-professional-firm/

A high performing team has the typical team roles represented. It is not so much less talented people assume the more demeaning roles as it is that each role is assumed by competence that performs to expected levels most of the time. What you need to consider is, our performance, both collective and individual, is variable. So even your best superstars will perform lousy from time to time.

What is most important to me is NOT to find that superstar but rather that individual that will perform in a predictable, sustainable, repeatable way. While this is very unpopular from a humanistic perspective, I want to be able to replace said individual with another when the first one craps out...and they will crap out so says Murphy.

  • Do you realize that your link has nothing to do with the text which follows?
    – Dunk
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 20:27
  • So? I wrote nothing that contradicted it. I added my opinion based on much of what Belbin has written in the past. Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 23:41
  • @ David Espina the link might seem unrelated with the text following it, but it is relevant to the question and this is what is important.
    – drabsv
    Commented Oct 26, 2013 at 8:12

There is no ideal ratio or formula for your team that will guarantee your company success. However, it is important to build a team with a variety of personalities and strengths so that each person can contribute something unique. I wouldn't consider one personality type more talented than the other, however. While the free spirit with the limitless ideas may lie at the root of the company's plans, the Type-A character is vital to implementing and following through with these plans. Employees with little experience also should not be feared, as they can bring some fresh perspective while you guide them in any direction you need.

Don't be afraid to mix it up. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  • Not sure why this received a -1. This is solid advice. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 23:00

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