4 Ways to Get the Most from Your Professional Team

A good leader gets the most out of his or her team. Doing so requires a genuine commitment to trust, respect, and loyalty.

Employers are always trying to maximize value and productivity while keeping costs low. Much of a company's value, and likewise much of its cost, is centered on its employees. But since every employee has a productivity ceiling and the long-term goals of an organization may necessitate more output from certain positions, tough decisions often need to be made. Firing and rehiring is expensive and can lead to poor morale. Maintaining ineffective practices can stifle growth. Bruce Kasanoff at Forbes floats a third option: talent development. A measure of a good leader is whether or not he or she has the ability to raise the ceilings of his or her employees:

"For most organizations, hiring the best talent is not a viable business strategy. The only way to get the best is to pay more than your competitors, and few companies are willing or able to do this. A far better strategy is to hire decent, hardworking people and bring out the best in them."

There's a bit of the Moneyball mantra in this philosophy — making a lot out of a little. Here's a brief summary of Kasanoff's best strategies for getting the most value from your clubhouse:

1. Assess your talent: Just as a sports team features players with different skill sets, your work team is a collection of unique individuals who bring different things to the table. Figure out what your employees are best at and decide what motivates them. Kasanoff points out that it's not always money or power.

2. Democratize input: Each locker room has its loudmouths. Each also has its quiet leaders. Find ways to incorporate these invisibles in company dialogue. Cater to their specific wiring and you'll see their productivity rise. Getting the most out of people involves engaging them on their level.

3. Embrace individuality: If every player on a baseball club looked and acted like their manager, the team would collapse in the standings. As a leader, you can't promote a degree of conformity with you or any other high-ranking person as the model. Kasanoff:

"Give your people the freedom to be the best version of themselves, rather than a pale version of you."

4. Loyalty and respect: A good manager goes to battle for his team in both good times and bad. This cannot be stressed enough. Employees will give their all for someone they feel respects, trusts, and values them. If they feel good about working for you, they will do their best to be their best.

Below, Maynard Webb on always looking out for your employees.

Photo credit: Ammentorp Photography / Shutterstock

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
Keep reading Show less

22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Keep reading Show less

Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

Keep reading Show less

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
Keep reading Show less