Building the perfect team is every business leader’s dream. I’m going to share some insight as to how I reached the point of having a team that works with my leadership style. First, let me break it to you that building the Ride or Die team is an ongoing effort and often short lived. People on your team will move on, get sick, or you’ll have to dismiss them. If you already have the perfect team, you can stop reading now and go back to making money. Here are the few tips I learned that still apply today as a young entrepreneur.
Discipline Beats Motivation Every Time
You or your team may be instructed to stay motivated. Often corporates will hire motivational speakers like Darren Hardy or share Gary Vee videos on Slack. To me, this method of motivation is like consuming copious amounts of Bang Energy to keep moving. Unlike energy drinks, motivation is not a one size fits all; everyone has different desires. Motivation is important and critical in your team but that is something they need to find in themselves.
My job as a leader is not only to motivate but more importantly create an environment that fosters discipline. Like most leaders, I have always been conditioned to keep my foot on the gas pedal due to my militant upbringing. It is important to accept that not all your team members share this drive. Discipline is nurtured. Creating a discipline framework that works for your team that will garner self-motivation.
Your Integrity Matters
News flash — your entire team will not
adorn you with admiration just because you’re their boss. Some team members may
be skeptical or simply not concerned about you as a person, and that’s OK.
You may already know it but you and your team will not be BFF’s, However mutual respect is necessary. Your actions and choices directly correlate with your integrity as a person. It’s not about making the choices your team will like; it is about making the choices that are congruent with why they chose to work for you and your organization. So make decisions wisely with your integrity in mind.
Being Predictable Is Good
One time there was a dispute between a
client and two team members with no middle ground. The mistake was made on our
end and the client cursed out one of the team members into tears. I could’ve
credited back the client and tell the team member not to worry and brushed the
whole situation under the rug. I did not do that — I fired client and had my
team members perform a post-mortem after-hours and explain why they messed up.
This goes back to the part about integrity.
Team members who have been with me know two things about me:
1.) I don’t parlay when a client lose their shit
2.) I always put the team ahead of the client
In my experience, finding good clients is far easier than finding good team members. My team knew I was going to fire the client before I even made the decision and that they are going to have to put in some time with the error they made. Being a predictable leader is important as they will gain the ability of foresight to situations; allowing them to make decisions in response of unexpected outcomes.
Identify Your Contemporaries
I personally make a note to identify team members who share the same space, time, and environment as myself when it comes to the work and the organization’s well-being. Hiring people who believe in the same goal but with completely different takes and approaches is like finding the all-star on your team. These person(s) are important footnotes in your business as they bring perspective and challenges outside of your scope that is progressive. It’s like you’re performing like Mozart and finding your Salieri.
Choose Your Battles
Arguments will ensue whether it begins with yourself or your team. The same that would occur with your friends and family. A quote by Dale Carnegie always stuck with me:
and if you win it, you lose it.”
My Paraphrase: Why? Let’s say you win the argument against your team member and completely obliterate their argument and prove they’re not being logical. What happens afterwards is you’ll feel fine. But what about them? After all that, they now feel inferior by destroying their pride and will resent your victory; while still maintaining the same opinion.
The tactic I adopted is from Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter with the response, I’m right, the people outside are wrong, and you don’t want to be like them, do you? This took me a few years to develop as it went against the way I handled arguments my entire life. I learned this tactic was only effective on some instances that involved general best practices, and did not work in unique situations.
If you’re not happy with your team setup at this time, take action (that won’t get you fired or lose your business). It’s not going to be easy and it will be frustrating along the way but you will feel satisfaction in seeing the small and drastic changes along the way. Do better because you are better.