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Building a Winning Team

Many of us never learn to place people in the best positions to create a winning team. We simply place people in the most convenient spot, or as a replacement of the last person who left. If you have a high turn-over within your team, or can’t seem to build motivation and loyalty, one of the places to look at is how you’ve placed your team.

When I was a SGT, I had to “deal” with a female private that never met expectations. She was constantly dragging her feet, late or no showed to formations. She lied often, couldn’t pass her PT tests, and many other issues. Not one leader sat her down and asked her why. No one ever asked what she wanted or loved to do, or if she even wanted to be in the Army anymore.

So, one day I talked to her and listened to what she was saying. Her entire life, she was raised in “the ghetto”. She never had a good parental figure and had only learned to cheat or lie to get anywhere in life. The Army was the first consistent thing in her life and so, of course she was failing at it! Just like a child or even your puppy, it took a few (or many) times of teaching her how to succeed before she started seeing the effects of a successful mindset.

Putting her into a different MOS (job), that she could let her skills shine, and helping to teach her a basic successful mindset made a huge change in her life. It put me in the doghouse by my leaders for a while. Because the Army often doesn’t look to solve problems, just segregate, and shun them. But I knew that it was the first chance anyone had given her with the guidance and opportunities that she needed to shine.

1 year later, she had moved away from her poisonous mother, had taken some steps to build success in her personal life, and was happy with her new position within the Army. She started passing her PT tests and trying to emulate the guidance I gave her, with new privates underneath her.

Leading people, or helping others, isn’t always an immediate result. When you want to build a winning team, the answer isn’t always to fire someone who isn’t performing. Sometimes it’s listening and learning where they may shine best. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and if you build your team by trying to make a fish climb a tree, you will never see the success that you want.

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