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12 Shortcuts to Be a Better Boss

Skip the management books. This simple list of pointers is all you need.

The business of business is usually simple. Take management, for instance. You can read management books or spend hours in the classroom... or you can just follow some simple shortcuts:

1. Manage individuals not numbers, because the only way to change the numbers is to change people's behaviors.

2. Adapt your style to each person, because management is never a one-size-fits-all proposition.

3. Measure only what's truly relevant, because measuring what's not creates irrelevant behavior.

4. Set only one priority per person, because "multiple priorities" is an oxymoron that creates indecision and chaos.

5. Stay even-tempered, because your employees need a leader who keeps a cool head in a crisis.

6. Take responsibility for your low performers, because they are the measure of your management skill.

7. Share your thoughts and ideas, because only then can they will they truly be honed and sharpened.

8. Ask questions rather than provide answers, because that will teach your employees to think for themselves.

9. Treat everyone as equally as possible, because "teacher's pets" and "golden children" are ruinous to morale.

10. Expect only what you're willing to give yourself, because a true leader must also be a role model.

11. Explain the reasoning behind your decisions, because that helps your employees understand you better.

12. Make decisions quickly, because it's better to act and fail than to prevaricate and learn nothing.

Adapted from my newly-published book "Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts That You Need to Know"

Michael Useem: The Leader's Checklist

In 2010, the Copiapó mine in Chile collapsed and trapped 33 miners. Wharton professor Michael Useem talks about leadership lessons from how Chile's Minister of Mines Laurence Golborne navigated the crisis.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Jun 6, 2014


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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