What NOT To Do When Building A Successful Team


As mentioned in my previous blog entry, 6 Things that Every Entrepreneur Should Know, it is crucial create a team with a dynamic structure.

No matter how smart or how talented you might be, to achieve success as an entrepreneur, you need to recruit the right people for your team. Bill Gates, Elon Musk and other epic entrepreneurs surrounded themselves with talented, inspirational individuals who contributed to their overall success. Forbes’ 6 Ways Successful Teams Are Built To Last talks about some of their strategies.

Unlike other articles that focus on the do’s of building a great team, my article approaches the don’ts in hopes that you can learn from my mistakes and integrate these techniques into your recruitment strategy.

1. Do not select a candidate because you are in a rush

Finding an employee or teammate takes time. Although you might need help immediately, making a rash decision can be detrimental in your recruitment phase. It is important to take the time to get to know the individual and understand both your needs and the applicants.

Take the time to conduct a job analysis to ensure there is a match. Check out Entrepreneur’s article titled How to Write a Job Analysis and Description to help you get started.

2. Do not assume that they will be able to respond well under pressure immediately

Every individual performs at a different rate. Expecting a new team member to jump in and respond to pressure is unrealistic. People need time to understand the organization, its scope of work and the culture.

3. Do not get upset, yell at them or become aggressive when expectations are not met

Creating an atmosphere of fear debilitates creativity and reduces productivity. When employees work within a realm of fear they are hesitant to come up with solutions and are rarely innovative.

4. Avoid giving them all of your trust in the very beginning based on their previous work history

Make sure you and your new member work on building trust from the beginning. Trust takes time. Although the individual’s prior work history may portray them as a reliable and high performing individual, it is important to take the time to build trust.

Many experts advise that leaders give employees full faith from the beginning, however, having been burned before by totally trusting employees from the start I recommend that you err on the side of caution when starting out with a new team member.

5. Do not get them working with you if expectations, roles, and responsibilities are not well defined

Ensure you have a job description or contract that defines the roles and responsibilities that are expected of the individual. The more specific these documents can be, the better. However, remember that there should be room for discretion and ad hoc projects.

6. Do not blame them for any mistakes; it is all on you as leader

As a leader it is your job to lead the team by creating a vision, inspiring them and taking the blame when things don’t go as planned. Steve Farber’s book and website Extreme Leadership, outlines the importance of taking the responsibility as a leader and provides strategies that will get you to the next level.

7. Do not set them up for failure

Ensure the recruit has all the tools and resources they need to be successful. This doesn’t just mean the corner office or the fancy laptop but includes opportunities to shadow other teammates, attend training sessions and courses.

8. Do not be afraid to fire a new hire. You were responsible for bringing them in; you are responsible for letting them go

Unfortunately, not all new hires end up being a successful addition to your team. Many performance issues can arise right at the beginning, and it is important to address them immediately, do your best to alleviate the situation and give many opportunities to perform. Many leaders are often scared to fire a new hire for many reasons including legal liabilities.

Always ensure you are abiding by the law and any collective agreements (if working in an unionized environment), but if the employee isn’t working out and meeting expectations, then it is your responsibility as the leader to let them go. Remember, the cost of keeping them is much higher than letting them go.


It is my hope that these what not to do tips will attribute to your success when building a team. I leave you with a quote from the book From Good to Great which highlights the importance of having the right people on your bus.

“Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.” —Jim Collins.

Best of luck as you build your team!

Daniel Delgado
Business Developer at 1Entity. Engineer and entrepreneur haunted with having a great impact on the world.
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