Lessons on teamwork from “Mistborn”


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I mentioned in the past that I am a keen Epic Fantasy reader. I am constantly amazed by how accurately the authors of some of these books describe the complex concepts of leadership and management. I was reading the fascinating “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson and came across these few lines:

“All right, let’s talk. We’ve got something of a task ahead of ourselves, and the sooner we begin outlining a plan, the better”.

“I thought you had a plan,” Yeden said uncomfortably.

“I have a framework,” Kelsier said. “I know what needs to happen, and I have a few ideas on how to do it. But, you don’t gather a group like this and just tell them what to do. We need to work this out together, beginning with the list of problems we need to deal with if we want the plan to work”.

What are the lessons I see in these lines?

  • Outcome management – this is a concept I wrote about a few times before. Good managers give a framework and desired outcomes and don’t tell their team how to do the work. The teammates usually know better.
  • Respect your team – no matter who you are working with, they are people, they have abilities, ideas and personality. And they are unique. As one of my Professors once said: “there is no one person who is as smart as two people”. Trying to tell your teammates what to do, not only is disrespectful to them, it also kills good ideas.
  • Transparency leads to cooperation – if people are a part of the process, they understand the big picture, their role in it and how it relates to the roles of others. It not only creates physiological buy in, but it also improves the efficiency of the process.



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