Management is an art, not a skill that can be put into an easy list of rules. Your question is kind of like asking how do I paint a perfect work of art? Even Leonardo Davinci could never answer that as it takes years, even decades of experience to learn.
However, that said, some important foundational philosophies are known to be very effective. I’ll list a few below. I would recommend reading The Daily Drucker or other Peter Drucker books first. I also have a Recommended Reading List below with many great classics and serious Entrepreneurs and business owners should read most, if not all, of them.
1. Set up a win-win scenario between every employee in the company providing challenge, learning, career growth and encouragement. More for those that put in the extra effort to study and learn on their own time. This will allow you to attract and keep the best people. As the best people want challenge, growth and appreciation. These are more important than money to many.
2. Be honest and communicate well the goals (using MBOs/OKRs), responsibilities of each person with no ambiguity at all. I believe a monthly group process is critical to the success of any team over 5 people and for employee growth and feedback.
3. Listen as much as you talk. Don’t be a “know it all boss” that treats people like cattle or robots. Each person is different. Listen and take time to explain why you do something they may disagree with or not like.
4. Be consistent, honest and fair to all. Encourage a meritocracy, not politics and favoritism, which will grow and cause bigger problems over time.
5. Coach people up to be better and give them the opportunity to “step up” to greater responsibility and let them learn some things on their own by mistakes that are not costly.
6. Be willing to pay better people more. No two people are “equal” and if you treat everyone the same, all the best people will leave. People get equal chances to be fair, but they never have equal effort, intelligence, creativity, abilities and results.
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7. Have quarterly reviews where there is 50–50 time talking and listening to each employee one-on-one.
8. Give people opportunity to make bigger decisions. One of my favorite management phrases is “Use your best judgement”. This says you trust them to think it through and figure something out. Not run back to you with every little decision, so they do not take any risk of failure. Failure is part of learning and in fact innovation and progress requires rapid failure and adjustment.
And as promised, here is a Recommended Reading list of top books every CEO and Entrepreneur should add to their reading list.
Management is an art. And it means you must recruit, grow and do the care and feeding of employees. They are the most valuable asset of any company.
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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.
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