I've written before on the topic of leadership and management, but I wanted to make it even simpler. These are the tenets I attempt to abide by. I'm not saying they work for everyone, or even anyone other than me. And you will find exceptions. But always seeking to find exceptions in general rules is not a skill, it's a neurosis.
Please do not think I am a particularly good manager or leader. I'm only saying that I try, and this is how I try.
So, if you're interested in one manager's attempts at being a half-decent boss, here you go:
- Your team's failure is your failure.
- Your team's success is your team's success. Give them credit. All of it.
- Your job is to make their lives easier, it's not their job to make yours easier.
- You should always be asking, "How can I help?" not, "What's going on?"
- Your team status meetings are for their benefit, not yours. Structure it that way.
- If they look good, you look good. Have faith in that, and don't put yourself in the spotlight.
- Your team will be frustrated with you sometimes. Give them the space and opportunity to vent, away from you.
- It's harder than you think, or ever imagined.
- Don't ever think: "Why do I work harder/longer than my team?" The answer is always: why should they work as hard as me? What am I doing to motivate them?
- Hire people smarter than you. If you can't do that, you're delusional.
Update: A good friend of mine had some great thoughts to add to this post. Here they are:
"Re: team status meeting - ask your team what they need from you to get their tasks done that day and that week. And follow through, duh.
Re: working as hard - Accept the responsibility given to you as a manger. Your job is to have a full view on what's going on & what's coming up."
Agreed. To quote Don Draper, "that's what the money is for."