10 Ways NOT To Run Your Business

This month, I’m writing one post each day on Medium. This was my ninth post in December. You can see the rest by clicking here.

I’ve been blessed to work for a variety of companies and with a huge assortment of people in my career. Most of those people (bosses, colleagues, customers, etc.) are outstanding humans and professionals. Some of them are not.

Through the past several years I think the biggest area I’ve learned by watching those around me is in regards to leadership. Here’s a list of 10 things I’ve learned NOT to do — either through personal experience or through the experience of others — when leading a team or organization, in no particular order.

This isn’t directly related to management, but I thought it was a cool photo. Can you imagine if the leaders fell to the temptations listed below? Gemini would have never happened. 

I’m not going to explain the rationale or give an example for each. I’m merely listing the behaviors and mindsets that I have experienced to drive divisiveness and inefficiency rather than success:

  1. Don’t make your team think their work is a side-show or distraction requiring your attention. Instead, make your team your priority.
  2. Don’t try to manage the entire business alone. Instead, hire people who are smarter/more skilled than you and trust them (almost to a fault) to run the business.
  3. Don’t restrain your employees from pursuing their ambitions. Instead, uncover your employees interests and dreams and enable them to reach those.
  4. Don’t hire people to fill a skill set then believe you can change their mentality/behavior. Instead, hire good people and teach them how to excel in your business.
  5. Don’t promise employees something that is either inflated or false when recruiting them. Instead, be honest and find employees who will be happy in the environment that exists.
  6. Don’t dangle promotions, better pay, or future earned benefits as a motivation for your employees to endure terrible job situations. Instead, invest in your employees’ lives as much as is possible and let them work for you out of loyalty and gratitude.
  7. Don’t believe the lie that the business is all about your personality.Instead, recognize the strength of your team, and praise them for their contributions.
  8. Don’t require your employees to do anything you wouldn’t do. Instead, give them the favorable tasks and serve them when possible.
  9. Don’t view your employees as resources. Instead, invest in their futures and mentor them in life and work.
  10. Don’t choose your customers over your team. Instead, understand that customers come and go, but your team knows what the client needs and will (hopefully) remain with you longer than most clients.

I think that’s it for now. These are the lessons I hope to remember as I continue to build teams and businesses. Hopefully, they’ll serve you as positive reminders going forward as well.

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