In my career as a manager in health care the times I felt most comfortable with my team was when I was allowed the freedom to select the people in my team rather than 'inheriting' people already there. In the NHS it is often not possible to have that 'blank piece of paper' because managers move into jobs where the team is already in place and well established.
I am reading a great book at the moment called Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels
Bill has been the leader of a team for thirty years and over these years he has come up with - through practical experience of recruiting team members and developing teams - his own his own model called The "Three 'Cs" of Team Selection.
I love Bill's model and recommend it for many reasons not least its simplicity.
Bill says he looks for the following in the order shown when recruiting team members:
Character - integrity, honesty, sincerity, professionalism and values
Competence - can this person actually do the job?
Chemistry - will this person fit in with leader and with team members?
Obviously I have summarised for the sake of brevity but I endorse this method as a rule of thumb for any leader recruiting a team member.
For anyone interested in leadership I also highly recommend Courageous Leadership as a 'must read' for 2007!