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5 sure-fire ways to kill your team

4 min read


The U.S. is known for its entrepreneurial culture, but not all countries are rushing to start a business. In Singapore, for example, even though nearly 80% of Singapore undergraduates have dreamed of starting their own business, only 1.1% have done so. Are there any compelling reasons for so many undergraduates not to take action?

Perhaps some students found it an uphill task to channel their moneymaking ideas into coherent business plans? Perhaps more distracting pleasures in life snuffed out their passion? Perhaps they failed to understand that entrepreneurship is a team sport, and, as a result of their individualistic effort, they killed their ideas and team? Indeed, it takes time and effort to produce a profitable business and a high-performing team. And the law of the business jungle dictates that teams eventually get “killed off” by their own doing.

Want to know how? Here are five sure-fire ways on how to kill your team.

  1. You must keep quarreling with your team. The first step is to tear the social fabric of your team. Tearing apart the goal that got you all together in the first place is a good start. You could deviate from the vision and goal of your immediate bosses and team. Commitment is such a negative word. You get committed to jail, too, right? So why do you want to be committed to your team? This could be done by finding ways to disagree with your team. Such cantankerous behavior promotes dissent. Constant quarrels helps to divert your team’s vision and mission and help shift the blame from routine daily operations and strategic business development.
  2. You must practice double standards. Double standards are good in encouraging favoritism. Favoritism helps in weeding out those who do not fawn after you. You only want to hear the good stuff. It would be wise to distance yourself from those who advise you to be more circumspect. Reward those near to you. Keep others away. If other opinions and constructive views were important, they would replace you as the team leader. So replace them first.
  3. You must keep your team in the dark.There is no such thing as accountability and transparency. Tell one teammate one part of the information. Then tell another teammate another bit. Let them find out the solution only when something happens. After all, it takes too much time to disseminate information.
  4. You should promise them the sky. Experts claim that you have to motivate your team, right? So motivate them with lots of promises. Inflate it as much as you can. Tell Tom that he did a good job with a smile. Tell Amy that she did a good job with the same smile. Wouldn’t you be proud of such meaningless smiles? Tell them that you will develop them and build their career with them. Then use them to build yours. There is no need to remember promises made, as they will not remember a thing until the appraisal the next year. Or when you fire them.
  5. You don’t have to practice what you preach. Tell them one thing and do another. Sounds like a great plan to confuse your team. Inform the team that due to cost-cutting measures, everyone has to travel via economy class. Then you take the cost-savings and travel first class. What a genius! Preach about how you should model after the success of role models. And when your team tries to model after you, kick up a ruckus about their lack of innovation and integrity.

While this is not an exhaustive list, experience has shown that these five tactics will surely help to kill your team.

Mark Chew is the founder and principal strategist of Giants Learning Technologies in Singapore. He is the author of “Discover Your Leadership Style.” Contact him by e-mail, at his website or on Facebook.