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Here’s how not to lead your team

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

When the venture capital arrived, a company founder put down $2 million on a ski chalet, explaining that it would be a good place for his software developers to work.

“It will stimulate their creativity,” he said.

Although a bit over the top, the chalet did seem like a nod toward fun and satisfaction during the challenges ahead.

The executive team met there for strategic planning. As they considered options, the founder jumped up and proclaimed their ideas worthless.

“The only people in this room that aren’t idiots,” he said, “are the engineers who graduated from Carnegie Mellon and Caltech.”

That left out more than half the team. The founder’s coach called a break, during which he explained that the founder’s remark would interfere with his group’s cohesion and that he should offer a brief apology.

When the meeting resumed, the founder got up.

“Let me be clear about what I said,” he stated. “The only people in this room that aren’t idiots are the engineers from Carnegie Mellon and Caltech.”

For six months, the firm spun its wheels until the VCs bought out the founder. By then it was too late.

— Adapted from Management Rewired, Charles Jacobs, Portfolio.

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