Effective Team Leadership: Getting the Right People on the Bus

In his all-time business classic (that every leader should read), Good to Great, author Jim Collins explains how “great” companies get the right people on the bus (and subsequently, the wrong people off). While not a revolutionary concept, it was nonetheless an eye-opening and insightful observation because so many organizations and teams seem to get the wrong people on the bus, and then, inexplicably, keep them on!

Nothing frustrates team members more than keeping someone on the team that is not a good fit, and more so, someone who actively hurts the team and creates dissension. This kills morale and destroys trust in leadership.

You see, Collins was driving home this key point — get the RIGHT people. Leaders are famous for saying that people are your greatest asset, but that is not always the case. The truth is, the RIGHT people are your greatest asset. Great teams are only great because they have the right people on the team, from top to bottom.

Characteristics of the “Right People”:

-Have a positive attitude
-Align with the values of the organization
-Embody a strong work ethic
-Are teachable and welcome feedback
-Want to keep growing and developing
-Focus on the success of the team, not self-interest
-Bring out the best in others
-Know and embrace their role

So if you’re leading a team, you need to ask yourself, “Do we have the right people on our bus?”. Before you figure out where you’re driving the bus (which is what most leaders focus on instead), first make sure the right passengers are on board. If not, the bus is likely to either break down or veer off the road and crash, even if you have a great destination that you are driving toward.

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