20 Things You Need to Know as the Manager of a Business

First, break all the rules – Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

The authors of this book were employees of the Gallop organisation and this fascinating book is based on 25 years of research into the behaviours of front line managers in corporate America. As part of this research over 20,000 interviews were held with the managers from over 400 companies.  What’s intriguing about the book, and has led to the title, is their finding that most of the successful managers break all the rules that you might expect them to follow. Great managers do not help people overcome their weaknesses. They do not believe that each person has unlimited potential. They do play favourites, in fact they break the rule book every day.

Buckingham and Coffman found that the best managers…

1. Know what can be taught, and what requires a natural talent.
2. Set the right outcomes, not procedures to be followed. They standardise the end but not the means
and let the employee use his own style to deliver the result or outcome you want.
3. Motivate by focusing on strengths, not weaknesses.
4.Know that casting is important, if an employee is not performing at a high standard, maybe she is
not cast in the right role.
5. Recognise that every role is important; respect it enough to hire the right skill set for each job.
6. Excel in the art of the interview to identify if the potential employee’s
patterns of behavior match the role he is to fulfill. Ask open-ended questions and
let them talk.
7. Find ways to measure and reward outcomes.
8. Give constant feedback; if you can’t spend an hour every quarter talking to an employee, then you shouldn’t be a manager.
9. Know that there are many ways of alleviating poor performance. Devise a support system,
find a complementary partner for the person under performing, or perhaps an alternative role.
10. Know they are on stage every day. They know their people are
watching every move they make. Therefore leading by example at all times is absolutely critical.

Buckingham and Coffman offer clear advice on management. In short their research showed that there is a clear link between staff satisfaction, staff productivity and profit. The best managers do not achieve high profits on their own, they achieve this through attracting and retaining high quality employees. Reading this book will give you a much clearer understanding of what makes employees satisfied and what the benefits  of satisfied employees are to your business.  You will also see what great managers are doing to keep their staff motivated, productive and enjoying their role.

Ten things you can learn from this book:
  1. Without great managers your business will not be successful.
  2. Never forget that there is a strong relationship between staff satisfaction and profitability. If you manage your staff well, they will ‘manage’ your business and your customers well.
  3. When delegating tasks don’t insist on a procedure to be followed, insist on the outcome.
  4.    When looking to motivate staff, focus on their strengths not their weaknesses.  The best way to drive better performance in a person is to increase their confidence.
  5.  If someone is underperforming don’t simply assume they are not good enough, they may just need a different role.
  6.  If you are not confident at making judgments in interviews then develop your performance in this area, it is a critical skill to have as a manager.
  7. Measure performance and reward success wherever you can.
  8. The best form of on the job training is giving your staff constant feedback, make sure you commit dedicated time to doing this.
  9.  Focus on employee development, it is a great way to motivate and also increase staff retention.
  10.  Don’t forget that when you are at work you are always being watched and judged by your employees.  Make sure you lead by example 100% of the time.