Shaping a Winning Team: A Leader’s Guide to Hiring, Assessing, and Developing the People You Need to Succeed

Paul Fayad and Chak Fu Lam

Publisher: Amplify Publishing Pages: 232 Price: (hardcover) $28.00 ISBN: 9781637559062 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Shaping a Winning Team uses the analogy of people in a boat to help readers make their organizations run more smoothly.

Business consultant Paul Fayad and Hong Kong academic Chak Fu Lam divide workers into three categories: Rowers, who are “highly motivated employees who bring positive energy to any task and take pride in getting the job done; drillers, who find fault with everything and are “in the back of the boat, drilling a hole in the bottom to sink it”; and sitters, the people “in the middle” who may be influenced to work with the rowers or help “self-centered” and “manipulative” drillers sink a project.

For managers to succeed, they must focus on and praise the rowers, ignore or—better yet—fire the drillers, and motivate the sitters to emulate the rowers. The authors stress that good leadership depends on identifying these types in their current workforce and hiring only rowers and motivated sitters in the future. They also discuss other successful leadership habits, including establishing two-way communications with employees and developing self-awareness.

The authors list desired personality traits of workers but don’t explain how to assess these traits in current and future workers. (They mention the availability of personality assessments in general, but don’t suggest specific tools.) In some later chapters, they drift from their stated mission and provide overviews of published research into other areas, like brain studies.

Another weakness is a lack of stories about how employers have identified and dealt with these three types of workers in the real world. The few examples offered come from Fayad’s previous positions with a healthcare services company, but the authors never adequately describe the structure or function of the company’s teams for context. Additionally, summaries of other business books and articles sometimes seem like padding to help fill an otherwise slim book.

Despite its weaknesses, the book’s discussion is accessible, and the authors provide leaders with several useful guidelines to effect change.

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