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7 Shortcuts Every Boss Should Know

These common-sense tips and techniques will make you a better manager.
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After decades of observing executives and entrepreneurs in action, I've come to the conclusion that good management is mostly a matter of common sense. That being said, common sense can sometimes be in short supply.

To fill that lack, here's a "cheat sheet" from the "How to Manage Your Employees" chapter of my new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

1. How to Think About Management

  1. Business is an ecosystem, so cooperate rather than conquer.
  2. Companies are communities, so treat people as individuals.
  3. Management is service, so make others successful first.
  4. Employees are your peers, so treat them like adults.
  5. Motivate with vision, because fear only paralyzes.
  6. Change is growth, so welcome rather than shun it.
  7. Technology eliminates busywork and frees creativity.
  8. Work should be fun, so don't make it a chore.

2. How to Be a Better Boss

  1. Manage individuals, not numbers.
  2. Adapt your style to each person.
  3. Measure what's truly relevant.
  4. Only one priority per person.
  5. Stay even-tempered.
  6. Take responsibility for your low performers.
  7. Share your thoughts and ideas.
  8. Ask questions rather than providing answers.
  9. Treat everyone as equally as possible.
  10. Don't expect more than you're willing to give.
  11. Explain the reasoning behind your decisions.
  12. Don't procrastinate, decide now!

3. How to Hire a Top Candidate

  1. Know exactly whom you're looking for.
  2. Constantly seek viable candidates.
  3. Look for character, not experience.
  4. Resilience is the mark of potential greatness.
  5. Seek out the self-motivated.
  6. Attitude is all-important.
  7. Don't settle for canned references.

4. How to Hold a Productive Meeting

  1. Have an agenda before you meet.
  2. Provide background information.
  3. Don't allow the meeting to meander.
  4. Document what decisions were made.

5. How to Offer Criticism

  1. Address undesirable behaviors when they happen.
  2. Offer praise, then identify the behavior you want changed.
  3. Ask questions to understand the "why" behind the behavior.
  4. Agree upon a plan to change the behavior.
  5. Monitor and reinforce the changed behavior.

6. How to Redirect a Complainer

  1. Schedule a conversation rather than interrupt your own work.
  2. Find out whether your advice and solutions are wanted.
  3. Listen to the complaint without comment.
  4. Ask what the complainer intends to do (if anything).
  5. If asked, provide your best advice.
  6. Ignore any "Yeah, but..." End the conversation.

7. How to Fire Somebody

  1. Tell it like it is without the biz-blab.
  2. Show empathy for the person being fired.
  3. Explain why it's happening, as far as you're allowed.
  4. Cut quickly, heal, and move on.

More on How to Be a Great Boss

 

Last updated: Jul 10, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, 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 over 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.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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