Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2021
-If you have inconsistent or poor performances on your team, you NEED to read this book!
-If you are the type of leader that is "too nice" and you feel like your employees take advantage of you, you NEED to read this book!
-If your employees are terrified of you, you NEED to read this book!
This is how this book changed my life:
My first big promotion was getting the General Manager position of a restaurant at 21 years old, and I did everything I could to make my employees happy (bringing the principals from "First Break All the Rules- What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently" which is also imperative to help you measure and understand how to make an amazing work environment for your employees), and it worked wonders- at first. My employees were happy and my customer reviews sky rocketed!!
However, over time some employees started to push the lines of respect with me and others, and some just started to outright ignore me or give me attitude. I was devastated! How could they treat me disrespectfully after I had spent months bending over backwards finding out and giving them everything they needed to be happy at work??? I praised them tirelessly, I thanked them constantly, I encouraged them, I personally trained them, I got them equipment and supplies they need to do a good job, I was spending one-on-one time with each of them would ask how their lives were, etc! I was the "nicest boss...." who was also turning out to be a pushover.
You can have all the kindness in the world but it makes your team useless if you have no discipline at the same time! The Bible says God disciplines His children BECAUSE He loves us. Otherwise, we turn into monsters! Which is what I was beginning to experience with my team.
I HAD NO DISCIPLINE, and NEITHER DID MY TEAM. Why would they respect me? I thought discipline was bad- "punishment" you gave and "punishment" was mean. Nope... turns out every team needs it, and if you are CONSISTENTLY and FAIRLY giving predictable and fore-warned discipline all the time, along with kindness, which Sun Tzu talks about in the book as well, you will have an amazing team. This is my favorite quote from the book that finally turned the light bulb on for me:
Page 26 #42-45:
"If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.
Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road to victory.
If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.
If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual."
AND YES IT WAS! Over time, not only did my employees love coming into work EVEN MORE, but they worked harder, my customers were happier, and so was I. People are comforted to know their boss will always be kind AND fair. If you never know how your boss will treat you, it creates uncertainty and anxiety with the team that always leaks out to the customers.
It took me only a couple weeks to begin fully implementing this mindset with my employees. At first, I'm not going to lie- it shocked them a bit and they didn't believe when me I would tell them I would be disciplining them if they didn't follow through or finish a direct order I had given them. I had to fire one manager who was undermining me to the team, and then everyone saw I was serious and fell right into line. Of course, I did all of this will extreme kindness.
Discipline should never be nasty or hateful or done when you are fuming angry. The employees need kind, proper and consistent warnings before they receive any consequences (which I learned to start doing right from onboarding them at orientation- saved me a lot of time and trouble), and then if and when the time comes for the formal discipline, they know by then that it was totally their choice, and you are only following through on what you said would happen.
There are SO MANY MORE GREAT QUOTES in this book. Just get it. Get a highlighter and pick out the diamonds that you need. Go over them time and again and become the amazing leader of your life and of your team you are meant to be!