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I have been head down, staring at the computer, working at home with a cat on my lap. I need to get out of the house more, so I will be recording the Create Your Culture podcast from a quiet corner in the Velvet Brick Café.

Every episode so far has wrapped up with a little kick in the pants as well as a mini-pep rally. I genuinely want to see you succeed, so I think you need to hear both. I know I hear both from my friends whether I am ready for it or not.

This episode is a bit more of a kick in the pants.

The first rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club.

I haven’t even see this movie, but the first two rules of Fight Club have become a part of pop culture.

I want to give you a new rule.

You cannot manage your team like a Fight Club.


I am continually surprised by business owners I have met who tell me they see the issues between members of their team and then say things like:

“They just need to figure it out.”

“They need to get over it.”

“I’ll just let them fight it out.”

“It’s not my responsibility to fix their communication breakdown.”

“I’m not here to babysit you two. Don’t involve me.”


If you say these type of statements to your team, I need you to reevaluate your role as manager.


Maybe you’re not a warm and fuzzy manager.


But do you want to be a successful manager?

Do you want to keep the people you have poured precious resources into?

Do you want to get the work done on time and done well?

Then don’t manage your team like a Fight Club.

So you do care about building your team as a community but you don’t like confrontation?


But do you want to have a team that works well together, shows respect and build trust?

Do you want to personally be respected as a capable manager?

Do you want to keep your people on the team or have to start over?

Do you want a team that is happy and getting the work done? Or do you want to just keep hoping that if you ignore it then everything will work itself out?

Even companies that manage fighters are not likely to manage their employees the way they manage their fighters.

I don’t have a structured one two three case to build today. Today I’m just talking to you.

Using competition as a management style. Leaving employees on their own to figure things out. Over-delegating and under-informing employees on what they need to do to succeed.

These are all things that can kill a corporate culture.

The chances are slim that you have a team where every member of the team is ok with a competitive, combative style.

The VERY employee who will not thrive in a competitive team that pits employees against each other is also the VERY employee who will not want to confront you about this poor management choice.

They will try to figure it out. They will try to get over it. And they will not be happy working in that environment.

You don’t care if they’re happy?

Fine, do you care that the team won’t be as productive?

If you don’t care whether your team members are put in jobs that use their skills for the good of the company AND the good of the employee… and you don’t want to get involved in day-to-day issues to help the team be more productive, then you shouldn’t be a manager.

Do you believe your situation is different?

Your business – with your team – with you at the helm. Those factors combine to create a one-of-a-kind team.

That’s true. Your situation is unique.

I don’t know the details of your workplace. I am talking to you from the safety of the Velvet Brick Café.

But the fact that your situation is unique proves my point.


You cannot use one size fits all management in a unique team.

You cannot move people to action all in the same way.

You cannot plug the right people into the right jobs without looking at them as individuals who are a part of the whole.

You cannot plan for the future without looking at the needs of your current team.


What’s the point of all this?

Whether you are growing an existing business. Or hiring your first employee. Or dreaming about hiring your first employee while you are at that bridge job.

You have a team. You work with people – for people – so you have a team.


You are not a bystander watching a match in a boxing ring. Waiting to see which one wins your little tests.

If that’s how you are managing your team, you need to get in the ring, break up the fight, build a team that works together and respects one another.


You are not sitting behind a one-way mirror observing your team interrogate each other.

If that’s how you are managing your team, get out of your private room of protection, join your team, help them fix problems and build trust.


You are not the leader of a town of Stepford wife type of employees.

If that’s how you are managing your team, you have either two things happening:

You have hired people who are like you, which means you will not have the diverse set of skills needed to run the complexities of business.

OR you THINK you have hired a bunch of copies of yourself and you don’t see that each person needs to be managed from who THEY are – not who you are.


Fight club teams can happen with well-meaning managers that do not want to deal with personality clashes or communication breakdowns, so they close their eyes, pretend not to hear the raised voices, the awkward silences, feel the tension in a room.

Fight club teams also happen with competitive, combative managers who like the thrill of seeing their employees battle for their appreciation or affection.

Fight club teams happen with managers who simply don’t know what they are doing but won’t admit it, so they put employees in what they call a “friendly competition” so the manager doesn’t have to deal with the fact that they don’t know how to get what they need from their employees.


Managing people is tough work.

If you set up the team to run well at the beginning, set expectations, give them the training and resources they need, motivate them based on what they care about, tie the company goals to their personal goals

… your company will be unstoppable.


Don’t wait. Start today to become a better manager.

Get the right people on the bus.

Keep the right people on the bus.

If you are continually improving, treating people with respect, building trust, removing manufactured drama, then your employees will have an example to follow.

If however you pit people against each other, create traps for employees to fall into, let manufactured chaos breed and fester, expect people to work their lives away just because hey they get a paycheck, then expect to see those behaviors in your team.


I can help you build a team or turn around a struggling team. That’s why I am so passionate about these issues. I’m here to help you. And I KNOW that you can see incredibly fast improvements with my skills and tools.

Just don’t ignore the issues.

Don’t leave your employees to fend for themselves.


Thank You For Listening!

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Listen to this Episode

Play episode 008 of Create Your Culture below: