Last year my co-author Kim Obbink and I published, “How (NOT) To Build A Great Team.” It’s the second in our series of “how-not-to guides for leaders and managers,” and like our first book, “How (NOT) To Be A Leader,” it’s a quick-read collection of hilarious cautionary tales that we hope will help you avoid some of the more obvious speed bumps and traps along your leadership journey.
This year we have decided to serialize it to share the lessons, (and hopefully a laugh), as businesses try to transition out of pandemic mode and recover.
We believe that every business is a people business. It’s the employees, the talented and skilled individuals and teams, that are the central nervous system of every business’s operation and strategy. Having great people allows leaders to keep their sights set on the day-to-day business itself and on the broader space of an industry. By doing so, they can focus on product, competitive strategies, sales, and innovation. If you are constantly churning around in the mucky mess of people and HR issues, the world outside the walls of your business will rush by you—and you’ll still be trying to figure out a way to fire Samantha without hurting her feelings.
Dealing with people is not for the faint of heart. It’s where the toughest conversations occur, the most complex interpersonal dynamics exist, and where you’ll be called upon to be psychiatrist, HR professional, mediator, referee, umpire, teacher, and camp counselor. It’s where you can do the most damage by making bad decisions, where the wrong people can have the most lasting negative impact, and where bad people quickly kill healthy company cultures.
It can also be the most rewarding. When you experience the positive impact that well-developed and well-managed people and teams have on your business, and when you witness the personal and professional growth of the people you’ve hired, you’ve arrived at people management nirvana. You and your business will be rewarded with a happy culture, good employee-retention, and a reputation that will attract top talent from across your industry. Plus, it will just feel good.
In this book, we will address three critical aspects of developing a great team: hiring and firing, team management, and leadership development. We’ll share with you some real and some entirely made-up stories about hiring the wrong people for the wrong reasons, how easy it is to create a dysfunctional team of do-nothings, and what to do when what was once your brilliant entrepreneurial vision suddenly turns into the lost chapter of Lord of the Flies.
Buckle up, leader. This is where the going gets tough.