5 Steps to Team Management Mastery



Building a functional team is one of the hardest leadership skills to master.

All the negotiation, all the management that goes into it is paramount to mastering leadership, getting promoted and skyrocketing your career. Basically what Job Talk is all about.

So let’s dive right in.

In essence, teamwork is a bunch of moving parts that all have to work together.

Susan hates Harry. Harry has a thing for Jeff. Jess doesn’t even listen to you because you’re not the “official” boss (the official boss is having a three-martini lunch). And so on.

What are you supposed to do?

This happens all the time. Team members engage in verbal sparing matches and you’re supposed to magically create a functional, respectful team.

It’s just like the coalition building thing that’s happening now.

The U.S. and its allies are forming a coalition against the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist organization.

In a nutshell, President Obama is building a team that will support an airstrike against ISIS.

One problem though: ISIS is in Syria.

This is turning out to be fraught with disaster.

There’s three big players in the game.

One of the players is the Syrian government. They have to allow the bombing to occur in Syria.

The second player is the Syrian rebels, who are amidst a civil war. The rebels are the people in the frontlines, fighting against ISIS. But they’re also fighting against the Syrian government.

And then there is ISIS itself.

Now President Obama is having to walk this tightrope between the Syrian government and the rebels, who hate each other but have the same common enemy.

The first two players share a common goal: stop ISIS. But they also hate each other.

Sort of like how two co-workers who hate each other have to work together on a project for their boss.

This is happening at our very own office at Forster-Thomas.

Our office manager Roberto (who has an enormous ego) and Dan (who also has an enormous ego), one of the mentor leads for our non-profit group, Essay Busters, have been put together on a team project.

Tension runs hot. Roberto, who’s also the Essay Busters coordinator, either loves or hates Dan—there’s no in-between. Basically they have a hard time working together.

At first we were hoping the problem would get resolved on its own.

That rarely happens.

So Auntie Evan stepped in.

He literally took the two of them and dragged them into a room and said, “all right, now we’re going to work it out.”

But that didn’t work. Auntie Evan figured if he just told them the truth, that there’s a common goal here, to just pull it together, all would be fine.

Didn’t happen.

So why doesn’t Auntie Evan just take over the project and do it himself?

This is actually one of the worst things you can possibly do. We’ll explain in a bit.

There’s several things you can do to solve these conflicts.

Uncle David shares his five most solid points on resolving team conflicts:

  1. Don’t stick your head in the sand.
  2. Don’t be the white knight who just swoops in and does it all himself. Yeah, it seems like the only solution. But it solves nothing and only inhibits your leadership abilities and doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
  3. Understand the conflict has no rational basis—it’s rooted in emotion. It’s about grudges and feelings. You can’t move past a grudge until your address and recognize how the team member feels.
  4. Create a social event where some relationship building can occur outside the office space. Resolution does not have to happen on the job.
  5. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to cut to the root of the issue. A simple, “pull it together” will do squat for team building efforts. Yes there’s always a bit of that pep element. But you also have to find out the why behind what their feeling, and then focus your energy on resolving that.


sexy employee of the month

SHOW DATE: JUNE 25, 2014

Auntie Evan just ran into a colleague who was in the New York area that he used to work for Forster-Thomas. We’ll call her B.

Auntie Evan hadn’t seen her in a while, and she wanted to take on some work while she was in New York. That was fine and all, but there was one small problem: her appearance.

B was 150lbs overweight, her hair was three different colors, she had pimples showering her face and she was unclean.

Auntie Evan’s consensus? Looks matter. Better looking people get jobs. B wasn’t going to get on board looking like that.

Uncle David is horrified at this maxim, but Auntie Evan has a point: the “fact” that good looking people do better in life is, in fact, a fact.

Auntie Evan cites University of Texas economist Daniel S. Hamermesh’s research that attractive people earn $230,000 more over a lifetime. Even an average worker is likely to earn $140,000 more than an ugly worker.

Auntie Evan does admits B was overweight when he first met her, but she was attractive and kept up appearances. She looked good.

Don’t let your ego get in the way when thinking about your attractiveness. Just because you don’t look like Pitt or Jolie doesn’t mean you’re not attractive.

Wash your face. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair. Wear the part. It’s not what you’re born with, it’s how you own how your look.

Take one of our employees, Ben. Classically good looking, a sharp dresser. But he didn’t start off that way.

Ben used to come in looking like a mess: shorts and polos several sizes too large, and generally an unkempt appearance. One day Auntie Evan told him if he came into work one more time dressed liked that he wouldn’t have a job. Ben listened.

Even if you work from home, pulling yourself together makes you feel great. And people can see that mustard stain over Skype, so it’s pretty much a must no matter where you are.

Looking good and being good looking are two different things. You don’t have to feel like you were blessed by the beauty gods to look the part.

Here’s a good tip: dress a level up. If your supervisor or boss wear a suit, adapt their style.

Forster-Thomas is an educational consultation company that helps students get into college and graduate school. Auntie Evan and Uncle David can’t make it fly that they have 50 years of experience between them and that they know what they’re talking about if they don’t look GOOD.

This applies to a creative office, a corporate office, a lax office, whatever office. Good looks matter, but looking good matters a lot more.

Check out our interview with Rachel Lefort on the phone, a former Ann Taylor designer, for some amazing style advice to make you look great no matter how much you were hit with the ugly stick at birth.

Rachel Lefort Tells You How to Look Good, Even if You’re Not Good Looking


We brought Rachel Lefort on the show, a former Ann Taylor designer, to talk about looking good on the job. Check out her amazing style tips below:

Job Talk Daily: What’s your definition of looking good?

Rachel: It’s not what you’re born with, it’s how you package and carry yourself.

Job Talk Daily: What is the one item in your closet that you have to have no matter what job you’re at?

Rachel: The number one staple for men and women is a jacket. For guys a fantastic sports coat, and for women a fitted jacket or blazer. It always elevates your style and makes you look professional.

Job Talk Daily: Can the jacket be more eccentric, like a herringbone? Or stick to solid colors?

Rachel: If you have to choose one, go with the more traditional solid-colored jacket, so people won’t recognize that you’re wearing the same thing all the time. A navy blazer with muted buttons (not gold) is a great choice.

Job Talk Daily: Any other important points?

Rachel: The most important thing is the fit. The clothing item should be tailored to your body, not too tight and not too loose. That’s why your tailor is your best friend.

Job Talk Daily: What about bigger people? Are they hopeless?

Rachel: When you dress for your proportions it can look like you lost weight. Say a woman wants to minimize her hips. She would want to dress in a way that would bring someone’s eyes up rather than down. Bring attention to her neckline. A jacket with a light v-neck blouse and a dark skirt that minimizes the hips would be a great choice.

Job Talk Daily: Any advice for the person who a the fear of shopping?

Rachel: That’s a good question. Start with wardrobe basics. Make a small list of things you need: your basic black trousers, your basic jacket, your basic blouse or shirt. It’s work to find the right things, it can be hard, and it might take a while, but it’s necessary. It’s a commitment you have to take.

The One Thing Sterling Got Right


SHOW DATE: MAY 14, 2014

The whole Donald Sterling issue is bugging us.

We get it, we know how it feels to be put down for being a minority.


While all the energy is being put on hating this senile old man, who’s clearly a moron, there’s one little thing he got right: help your community.

Donald has a point when he says Jewish people help their people underneath.

This begs the question: what’s good for the community and what’s good for you?

If you’re a minority, and you’re in a world where your people have difficulty getting a job, and you’re in a position of influence, help them. You become known as a networker that helps people get jobs. Not only are you raising your own standing in your community, you have a better chance of being helped by someone above you as well.

It’s easy to beat Sterling up. He’s a target you can’t miss. But there’s something to learn from his remark. When you can bring in a team of hard-working people that you know and can identify with, you’re going to be seen as a rainmaker in your community and in your office.

Sounds like segmentation, like Auntie Evan is being a separatist, doesn’t it? Jews hire Jews. Black people hire black people. Women hire women. Gays hire gays.

Here’s the fine print: if you’re sitting there with two equally capable people, and one of them is a person who you identify with and who’s had difficulty getting jobs in the past, hire them.

Don’t get caught up in your anger like those raving against Sterling, or you’ll start sounding like that crazy gender studies professor. We’re called Job Talk, not Identity Talk. We’re here to help you excel at getting a job, and one of the ways you can do that (all things being equal) is to help (and be helped) by the people in your community.

Take away the sole thing Sterling got right and look into your world and find someone you can help.

Want to get Noticed at Work? Here’s the Easy Way



Take care of the little things in the office that nobody ever notices. That extra initiative is going to get you recognized and promoted.

Change the batteries in the smoke detector; change the clocks during daylight savings; do the things no other employee figures is “worthy enough” to get a promotion.

You do this at home and at work, you’re going to get noticed.

In a Creative Field? Let Your Resume Reflect it


Uncle David has gotten every job he has ever gone for, so when he gives job-hunting advice, you better listen up. Join us every week for Uncle David’s 100% Successful Job Hunting Tip. 


Your resume needs to reflect who your are, your skill sets and the type of job you’re going for.

If you’re a designer or in some other creative field and your resume is the humdrum list of qualifications, you’re not showing the employer who you are or what you’re capable of.

You should be using various fonts, white space and negative space, and actually let the resume be a piece of design that reflects your aesthetic.

If you’re in the run-of-the-mill corporate setting, ease off on trying too hard to stand out from others. Otherwise you just look like the song-and-dance salesman who just overdoes it.

While we’re on the subject of getting the job you want, check out this excellent list of tips for scoring your dream job by Rachel Zarrell from Buzzfeed.




There’s that awkward moment that occurs in every office when you turn around and see your co-worker in tears.

What do you do? Do you follow up and ask what happened?

Instead of just ignoring what’s going on, take action and don’t let them sit there in pain. Ask them.

If you see it happening in your office, don’t let it float on the table—it just makes the situation worse.

If the person doesn’t want to talk about it, respect that. But by assuming that they don’t want to discuss it, you’re just creating a more awkward situation.




Freedom and independence lead to more job satisfaction.

A new study by the Pew Research Center has found that bosses are more satisfied than employees. It’s not just because they have a greater salary and better job security, but because they have more freedom and independence.

That means you can get the same satisfaction too. There are various ways to work this out, whether it’s more flexible check-in times or working from home. The problem is when employees do achieve this level, they tend to screw it up.

There’s two thing that can happen: you either abuse your freedom and start procrastinating without the “adult” supervision, or you tend to fall off the boss’s radar.

There’s two simple methods you can employ to avoid this: stay in communication and send at least one email a day to your boss letting him know what’s up. Also, make sure you show that you deserve the newfound freedom by doing more, not less. We guarantee that this will lead to promotions, satisfaction and eventually becoming the boss yourself.


Uncle David has gotten every job he has ever gone for, so when he gives job-hunting advice, you better listen up. Join us every week for Uncle David’s 100% Successful Job Hunting Tip. 


Your resume is the gateway to your future career. So it’s a bit jarring to find out that hiring managers only spend about 10 seconds looking over it.

Fortunately, we have a way to make hiring managers look over your resume for more than 10 seconds.

Engage hiring managers by adding hyperlinks to your resumes. The great thing is, most people view resumes on their computer, meaning they can click links in your resume.

So if you work for, say, SnowCorp, put in a link to SnowCorp’s website on your resume. Also make sure to attach a hyperlink for your LinkedIn profile to your name at the top of your resume.