Effective Leaders know that People Come Before Profit

When you’re an owner or in charge of a company, there are so many individual issues to worry about—sometimes it’s a wonder you can think at all. Is it true that the most important thing to worry about is profit—for without it, you don’t have a business at all?

Focusing on profits blinds some managers and business owners to the real purpose of business, which is people. After all, no matter what business you are in, it exists to sell a product or service to people; it needs great people to keep it running smoothly, and having happy people as employees and customers makes it all worth doing.

A good team makes a manager’s job easier—but leading them effectively takes time and effort. And good leaders know that putting profits before employees is a recipe for disaster. No matter what size business you’re running, from a team of three to three hundred, you can’t reach goals and become a successful company by yourself. But how does a manger create a tight, efficient and effective team of employees?

Find the people who work best for you and with your other team members. Hire for skills, sure, but skills alone won’t make up for a lousy attitude. Passion and drive can’t be taught, so look for those attributes along with a stellar set of skills. Personality differences help make a stronger, more diverse team. But it’s not a good idea to bring polar opposite strong personalities into the same team. Knowing your team members well and hiring for compatibility will help ensure a winning team.

Don’t be afraid of conflict. Conflict helps employees sort out leadership roles, and move toward a tighter-fitting, focused group dynamic. But conflicts must be worked out or your teams will be completely ineffective.

Watch the rule-makers. Let your team leaders set the rules for the group—to a certain extent. Nobody wants a bully at work, but employees with natural leadership qualities will find ways to make the team work most efficiently. Working together pleasantly is a nice by-product of great leadership. If you start hearing complaints about rules that aren’t working for everyone, address them right away to avoid losing productivity.

When you have passionate, driven individuals, clear and focused leadership, and healthy doses of well-managed conflict, you have the beginnings of a great team of employees—and the potential for great profits, too!

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