Sunday, June 8, 2014

8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses

8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses
 

The best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. See what they get right.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the "best of the best" tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of "troops" to order about, demonize competitors as "enemies," and treat customers as "territory" to be conquered.
Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers ... and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by "pulling levers" and "steering the ship."
Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they're told. They're hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the "wait and see what the boss says" mentality.
Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can't be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.
Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

Average bosses see fear--of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege--as a crucial way to motivate people.  As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.
Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it.  As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change ... until it's too late.
Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don't value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.
Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.
Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

9 Core Beliefs of Truly Horrible Bosses

9 Core Beliefs of Truly Horrible Bosses

The worst managers have a fundamentally broken understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics. Don't make these mistakes.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources, and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.
A year ago, in 8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses, I contrasted the great bosses with average ones. Many readers commented that what I described as an “average” boss was actually an awful boss.
Not so! Truly horrible bosses have beliefs about work and management that are so dysfunctional that they can’t even be measured on that scale. Based upon my experience and observation, the absolute worst bosses believe the following:

1. Management is command and control.

Horrible bosses think their job is to order employees to do things and make certain that they do them.
Smart bosses know that the job of managing is mostly helping employees be more successful and making difficult decision that employees can’t make on their own.

2. Employees should WANT to work long hours.

Horrible bosses are convinced that employees who don’t want to work 60-hour work weeks are slackers and goldbricks.
Smart bosses know that numerous studies have shown that any attempt to consistently work more than 40 hours a week reduces productivity.

3. I manage numbers rather than people.

Horrible bosses put all their energy into making certain that the numbers come up right, even if it means changing the numbers.
Smart bosses know that the only real way to get good numbers is to help your people make their numbers.

4. If I really need something done, I do it myself.

Horrible bosses think of themselves as the star performer who can fix any problem by yanking back authority and responsibility.
Smart bosses realize that true leadership entails motivating people to own their own successes and failures.

5. I don’t decide until I have ALL the data.

Horrible bosses are so risk averse that they require mountains of information before making any important decision.
Smart bosses understand that there’s a point (and it usually comes fairly quick) that additional information merely muddies the waters.

6. I own the success and you own the failure.

Horrible bosses take the credit when things go well and point the finger when things go poorly.
Smart bosses know that their real job is to 1) fix the failures before they happen and 2) publicize the wins that employees achieve.

7. I like to keep them guessing.

Horrible bosses play their cards close to the chest and never let employees into the decision-making process.
Smart bosses know that decisions are more successful when those tasked with the implementation of them are involved from the start.

8. The salary review is the perfect time to coach.

Horrible bosses sandbag their complaints, criticisms, and advice until the employee’s performance review.
Smart bosses realize that employees panic when they’re bushwhacked and can only change behavior when they’re coached gradually and regularly.

9. I’m so important I don’t have to be polite.

Horrible bosses are so puffed up with grandiosity that they can’t be bothered to control themselves.
Smart bosses know that corporate bullies eventually get what they deserve–a staff of lickspittles whose lack of talent destroys the company.
Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on Inc.com, the world’s most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts.

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