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
- Business is an ecosystem, so cooperate rather than conquer.
- Companies are communities, so treat people as individuals.
- Management is service, so make others successful first.
- Employees are your peers, so treat them like adults.
- Motivate with vision, because fear only paralyzes.
- Change is growth, so welcome rather than shun it.
- Technology eliminates busywork and frees creativity.
- Work should be fun, so don't make it a chore.
2. How to Be a Better Boss
- Manage individuals, not numbers.
- Adapt your style to each person.
- Measure what's truly relevant.
- Only one priority per person.
- Stay even-tempered.
- Take responsibility for your low performers.
- Share your thoughts and ideas.
- Ask questions rather than providing answers.
- Treat everyone as equally as possible.
- Don't expect more than you're willing to give.
- Explain the reasoning behind your decisions.
- Don't procrastinate, decide now!
3. How to Hire a Top Candidate
- Know exactly whom you're looking for.
- Constantly seek viable candidates.
- Look for character, not experience.
- Resilience is the mark of potential greatness.
- Seek out the self-motivated.
- Attitude is all-important.
- Don't settle for canned references.
4. How to Hold a Productive Meeting
- Have an agenda before you meet.
- Provide background information.
- Don't allow the meeting to meander.
- Document what decisions were made.
5. How to Offer Criticism
- Address undesirable behaviors when they happen.
- Offer praise, then identify the behavior you want changed.
- Ask questions to understand the "why" behind the behavior.
- Agree upon a plan to change the behavior.
- Monitor and reinforce the changed behavior.
6. How to Redirect a Complainer
- Schedule a conversation rather than interrupt your own work.
- Find out whether your advice and solutions are wanted.
- Listen to the complaint without comment.
- Ask what the complainer intends to do (if anything).
- If asked, provide your best advice.
- Ignore any "Yeah, but..." End the conversation.
7. How to Fire Somebody
- Tell it like it is without the biz-blab.
- Show empathy for the person being fired.
- Explain why it's happening, as far as you're allowed.
- Cut quickly, heal, and move on.
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