Your team is your reputation - so are you on their side?


Your team is your reputation - so are you on their side?'It's not me, it's my staff, you just can't get good people these days!"

You'd be amazed how often I hear that and it's total rubbish.

As Sun Tzu said, if you want to be a good leader you must "cultivate your resources", and that includes your people. If you look around and think your staff could be better, you may be right, but guess who's fault it is... YOURS!

And... here's the bit that will really sting... that is definitely impacting the product or service you are delivering and turning customers away.

The bad news is that it IS all the leader's fault when things go wrong with staff. It really is true that you needed to manage better. The good news is that it IS all about the leader's behaviour and you, the leader can change that.

By the way, I don't mean firing people.

Every person you hire and then fire, or fire after taking over a leadership position, is your loss. You are letting money and time and effort walk out the door. Very inefficient and bad leadership.

If you want to calculate the true cost of firing someone a good rule of thumb is to take their yearly salary and double it if they are blue collar, triple it if they are white collar. That's how much you just cost yourself as a business owner or cost your organisation as a manager.

Those costs include:

  • the price of recruiting again,
  • overworked existing staff while you recruit,
  • lost productivity while the position is vacant,
  • lost knowledge of the work and the workplace (you just let this precious stuff walk out the door, a competitor will use that against you, you will lose even more market share) 
  • Cost of your time to interview a new person
  • Training costs of training that new person
  • If your staff are under an award where they get paid out, add that in too

It's not cheap, and it's NOT the easiest the solution.

Firing someone is essentially a self admitted leadership failure.

If you say it's not your fault, it's your staff, you're essentially giving up the one thing you can control - your own behaviour.

Which also happens to be the thing that makes the biggest impact!

So next time you're complaining about the people you manage, stop and think... that thing you're going to complain about is your fault, stop complaining and start helping your team members.

Advance your team = advance you. Hold back your team = hold you back.

Your team = you.

Follow Sun Tzu's advice and cultivate your resources.

That's what good leadership is all about. Your team is your reputation - so are you on their side?

Dr Louise Metcalf

Associate Lecturer at

Internationally published leadership expert. One of the top 100 Sustainability Leaders in the World (ABC Carbon, 2011, 2012). BA (Hons in Psych), Masters of Applied Psychology Organisational, MBA, PhD, Member APS College of Organisational Psychologist, membership of Academy of Management. Louise has decades of experience in the field of organisational psychology and general psychology. She is a highly respected leadership and change management consultant in Australia

Comments (3)
Wendy Huang

Wendy Huang, Full Time Blogger and YouTuber at A Custom Blog in 4 Minutes

So true, as a leader you have so many other people to compete with, the worse thing is to start wearing down the team that are there to help you. Sometimes it's worth putting your own agenda aside and sit and understand what you team is going through. A dip in productivity for one worker in the short term costs must less then replacing the resources. I think sometimes it's good to remember that your team are essentially human too.

Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Absolutely! Recently I have heard people criticising staff, suppliers and even their customers! In each instance they should have been demonstrating leadership by resolving issues and building on them. In business the ability to transform challenges into opportunities demonstrates true leadership and ultimately profit. Sun Tzu and Peter Drucker are my long term mentors and are often found nestling amidst poetry, history and novels on my bedside Thanks Louise another great article!

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