The Manager’s Cheat Sheet: 101 Common-Sense Rules for Leaders

I read the article below and I find it interesting.  It summarizes the basics of successful management in a list of points that managers can use as a reference.  The points written in the article can take several posts to be explained.

http://www.insidecrm.com/features/Manager-Common-Sense-Rules-082207/

I thought I would comment on some of the points mentioned in the above cheat sheet.

  1. In meeting deadlines, the author says “Only promise what you can realistically deliver.”   This is crucial.  A lot of managers think that if they promise to deliver on a squeezed schedule, then they are good managers, their boss will like them and the customer will be happy.  In fact what you are doing is you are lying to everyone, including yourself, because you will not be able to deliver on the promised date.  Accordingly the customer will be mad, your boss will be mad and the employees under your management will hate you for stressing them.


  2. In meeting deadlines: “Organize a team.”  Most managers fail in this point.  Some think that if they make all their employees able to do everything then they are stars.  Some think that if they make everyone have a certain specialty and work all the time in that point only then they are great.  Well, both are wrong.  You have to make use of your employees’ talents.  Find out what each one of your employees can excel at and use it to get the best out of him.  Assign employees to projects wisely to make sure that everyone is working on something that he can excel at “not just deliver.”  Making everyone do everything is a distraction and making an employee buried in only one type of task is boring.


  3. This point I loved! In Getting along with employees, “Don’t make employees come in on days they are normally not scheduled to work or call them while they are on vacation.”  This is completely abused in Egypt.  Some managers think that they have the right to call their employees whenever they want.  You even get the stupid comment “You are a professional! You are supposed to come to work whenever we need you and stay as late as we want”  and if you complain …”You are not professional!”  Well, this is totally absurd.  On the contrary, your employees have the right to have a personal life and enjoy their vacations.  Do not wear them out to be able to get the best out of them.  If they hate you and come to work only because they have to, they will not deliver the quality you want.


  4. Also in Getting along with employees, I will combine here two of the mentioned points “Do not micromanage” and “Do not interfere with employees’ work”.  These two points are very important.  If you are looking over your employees’ shoulders all the time, you will loose them because they will feel that there is a lack of trust.  And if you tell them how to do everything all the time you will suffocate them.  Yes, you have to keep up with their work and make sure they are on track.  You also have to make sure of the quality of work, but do not interfere in every single step.  I had a manager once who used to interfere even in how to write an email! this way you are bound to loose your employees.


  5. In manage yourself,” Be open to constructive criticism.”  You have to accept criticism even from your employees.  Being a manager does not mean you are god.  You are human and you are bound to make mistakes.  You will definitely not find the right answer all the time.  So accept appropriate criticism that will make you a better manager.


  6. In manage yourself,” Improve your skills.” Yes, I agree, being a manager even on the strategic level does not mean that you are great and you know it all.  You have to keep learning.  You have to keep improving yourself or else you will die out and loose your status faster than you expect.


  7. In go above and beyond, “Lead by example.”  Do not ask your employees to do things that you do not do yourself.  If you want them organized and precise and they find you extremely reckless, they will never be organized.  If you want them to show up on time and they find you coming in late everyday they will not respect their working hours. If you miss your deadlines, it is an open invitation for them to miss their deadlines as well…and so on

I want to add also an important point to the article.  It can go under “Getting along with employees” OR “Boosting Productivity.”  Create leaders not followers.  Some managers want to make sure that all the time he/she is the only star in the team and every one is working by his command.  Some are really afraid of exceptional employees so they try to suppress them and hide all the time.  If you do that you are a failure as a manager.  On the contrary, the more leaders you create the better you are.  It requires self-confidence to accept to create leaders who some day can take higher posts, but it is the real measurement of how a successful manager you are.

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