Chapter 2. Questions That Manage Your Team

A team is more than the sum of its parts. If you have a high-functioning team, it will outperform a more skilled or knowledgeable team that is dysfunctional. You see this happen on sports teams all the time. In 2004, the USA Olympic basketball team was composed of superstars from the NBA, including LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, and Carmelo Anthony. Despite all of this star power, Team USA came away with a very humbling third place, instead of the expected first-place finish. The American team was defeated by the teams from Lithuania, Argentina, and Puerto Rico, hardly basketball powerhouses. It was widely agreed that although Team USA had far more talent and skill than the other teams, the team itself was dysfunctional, and the egos of the players prevented them from working together effectively. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian, Argentine, and Puerto Rican teams had spent years practicing together, and their ability to function as a unit enabled them to defeat a more highly skilled competitor.

As a manager, your team represents you and your company. Its members are not just employees; they are the face of the company to customers and clients. If your team cannot work together, it is not just their problem; it is yours. If they anger a customer, you have to be the one to step in to resolve the issue. If they miss a deadline, you are responsible. Of course, managers deal with these problems all the time, but wouldn't it be nice if you ...

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