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Five Management Tips for Success

January 21 2009 – 09:06pm

Over several years of having real jobs, I’ve noticed a few things that, when applied, keep an organization running harmoniously and productively.

  1. Whoever has the larger hand is the boss!
    Obey the org chart: It’s fashionable to have a “lateral organization” and to throw around seemingly progressive statements like “titles are meaningless.” This may work well in an extremely small organization (like 3 people who have known each other for years). Beyond that, this concept is bullshit. Sure, everyone involved should have input into principles that guide an organization. That’s input, not control. When everyone’s roles are clear, egos aren’t damaged when ideas aren’t adopted, and decisions get made faster. And most decisions, if made “incorrectly,” aren’t going to bring an organization down. Sometimes making a decision is more important than making the “right” decision. When a person in a given role is given true ownership of those decisions, things move faster, and people can feel fulfilled in their jobs. This isn’t to say that Managers should have final say on every little decision. More on that later.
  2. Concentrate on objectives, not on opinions: I remember 37 signals saying something along these lines, but I won’t bother to dig it up. Phrases like I think…, we should…, we have to… are extremely dangerous because they usually begin a largely inaccurate statement. Something like I believe [action] will [benefit to particular goal] because [something at least resembling a fact] will do much better. If the issue at hand isn’t under your ownership, leave it at that.
  3. Trust in expertise: This goes along with obeying the org chart; but this part is for managing down. Imagine the following scenario: your report has come up with solution A for your organization, which is worth $300 to your organization, you spend $100 of the organization’s resources in a debate with your report trying to get your solution B, which is worth $350 to the organization, to be implemented instead. Even though your solution may be better, you could have just gone with solution A, and moved on to something else; but instead you expended $50 worth of extraneous resources, ruined a learning opportunity for your report, and reduced your report’s morale. If you really feel that your report’s work is inferior, have enough respect to replace them. Otherwise, let them grow. 
  4. Care about your employee’s priorities: Being careful not to be intrusive, think about what’s going on in your employee’s life and career. What is important to them? If there are elephants in the room, introduce them. Foster an environment where potential exits – such as going back to school, or moving on to another organization – can be discussed openly, without fear of retribution. Sometimes managers are clueless when it comes to the level of potential that exists for their reports, outside of the organization. This is dangerous because it results in surprising exits, and resentment (lost goodwill) on the part of the exiter. You’ll save yourself from surprises, and build goodwill for your organization.
  5. Develop a system of criticism for ideas: Yes, everyone should be invited to provide ideas for the organization; but nobody should be expected to implement an idea without a clear vision of the idea’s goals, measures of success, and rationale behind the implementation that is believed to be the best method of achieving those goals. Naturally, when an idea is submitted for consideration, there should be a template for the submitter to use to put their own idea through the appropriate thought process.

I guess these could be heeded with the caveat that I have little actual management experience; but sometimes the freshest ideas come from the most ignorant. Enjoy.

Photo from star5112

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This post is filed under Business, Creative Productivity.