How To Build A Company Of Winners

BY C. Lee Smith
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One of the first things Tony Chatman heard when he became a senior manager was, “you’ve just lost the luxury of having a bad day.” Chatman, president of Chatman Enterprises, recently joined us on our Manage Smarter podcast to talk about what else managers should be doing to improve themselves and their team members.

Emotion contagion

I often say that good managers improve numbers and great managers improve people. Chatman agrees. He thinks managers should go a step further. He wants bad managers to stop demoralizing their team members. When Chatman talks about emotion contagion, he’s reminding managers to leave their bad attitudes at the door. As a good manager, you need to come to work every morning with a smile on your face and a can-​do attitude that will infuse your team members with the desire to work hard.

Winners and Losers

Despite your best efforts to build up your team, you’ll find that some employees are easier to manage than others. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that the easy employees are also the better employees. It’s likely that you have more in common with these employees. After all, it’s a lot easier to build a relationship with someone if you share a passion for drone flying.

If you’re not careful, you’ll fall into the trap of unconscious bias. Before you know it, you’ll be out flying drones with these employees. That’s when you’ll get a reputation for playing favorites.

That should never happen. Your responsibility is to develop every employee. Each member of your team can improve if you take the time to get to know them. Once you develop that personal knowledge, you can develop a plan for them.


If you know you’ve gotten off to a bad start with an employee, don’t be afraid to reboot. Go to their office and apologize. Maybe you should have acknowledged that they did a great job on a project. It’s never to late to give someone a compliment. In your future meetings, listen carefully to this employee. Sooner or later, they’ll mention what excites them about work. With that information, you can begin to set goals that will help them improve.

Being a great manager means bringing your “A” game to the office every day, for every employee on your team. The harder you work at this objective, the more winners you’ll develop.