Behavior #1: Be kind, and be fair.The best managers are kind and fair, in all situations. They are as kind and fair to the jerk they are firing as they are to their best, most productive employee. They never get upset (unless it’s entirely appropriate), they calmly work through all issues, and they make decisions that will help everyone do a better job. We all have our quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. Any manager who is kind and fair will be easily forgiven for quirks and weaknesses. Workers pay attention to how others are treated; they see the decisions that are made; they know what is kind and fair. Fairness is one of the most important reasons that people stay or leave companies. If you choose to be a jerk, putting others at a disadvantage for your own gain, you will not be kind nor fair. You shouldn’t even be a manager. You’re in the wrong job. Frankly, I’m not sure which job you should be in, but it’s definitely not management. You will make everyone else’s working life a misery, and only the most desperate or devious people will work for you.
Behavior #2: Don’t abuse your position.People who own and run companies are in a position of power. They are the leader. Leaders are held to a higher standard than the other people in the company, and rightfully so, as their decisions affect many others, positively or negatively. This is obvious on the face of it, but when you are the leader, how does that mean you should act? There’s the obvious answer, which is that you shouldn’t ask people to do things that make them uncomfortable or unnecessarily inconvenienced. However, many managers don’t appreciate how much a seemingly subtle or innocent request can slow down progress. For example, a CEO who routinely sends emails out to all his managers asking, “Is this something we should be investigating?” is slowing everyone down. Emails from the CEO, sent to multiple people, are “Important.” The need and desire to impress others, including the CEO, will be strong. Recipients will also feel that if they do not respond, they will be making a career mistake. So the five people who get that email will all stop their important, revenue-producing work to attempt to answer the CEO’s question. They will spend time doing some research, come to some conclusions, and then write their answer. Thus begins an email debate. Debates conducted via email are a revenue-sucking waste of your three most valuable resources: people, time, and patience. Instead of doing this, the CEO should take one of two approaches:
- Assign one person to these questions, someone who can do the preliminary research and come back with an answer such as, “This is a complete waste of time and not for us (and here’s why),” or, “This has some merit (and here’s why). Who do you think should investigate it further?”
- Gather up these questions and wait until the next staff meeting. Have a 15-minute session where you briefly mention each of these concepts or companies, and ask for their initial reactions. Everyone should know that the goal is simply to decide if this is worth pursuing or not; not to debate all the pros or cons of doing so.