Rules for Managers

Over the years I have made plenty of mistakes. Rather than keep track of the mistakes, I just made  a list of the things I learned.

If you are an aspiring Manager, print this and keep it handy. You might find a helpful thought in there to use and make a difference.

Here is the list as it stands now. I have made changes as I learned something new. Hope you can use it to do something different or make a change.

Rules for Managers

1. You get all of the blame.

2. You get none of the credit.

3. You are always talking about the future.

4. Your job is to make your boss look good and remind him/her of their
excellent choice in making you a manager.

5. Make it difficult for your people to fail, as long as they stay in the

6. Encourage action.

7. Become what I refer to as “Obnoxiously Optimistic.”

8. Always complain up the chain.

9. Always praise down the chain.

10. Learn all you can and pass it down.

11. Prepare everyone to take over your job.

12. Ask your Customers what they think. They will tell you the truth.

13. Ask your people what they think. They will tell you the truth if they
trust you, and if they don’t, then you know where to start building your new team.

14. Become judicious in your decisions.

15. Become a MBWA practitioner. If you don’t know what MBWA is, find out. Google it.

16. Practice principles you believe in. If you are not sure what your
principles are, start by deciding what you value. Then you can find your

17. Don’t be afraid to say “I made a mistake.” Everybody already
knows you did.

18. Lavish praise when needed.

19. Find reasons to celebrate. Then announce a celebration.

20. Take an employee to lunch for no reason at all.

21. Practice integrity. It makes things easier.

22. Be an employee advocate when needed. Sometimes you have to speak for
them when they cannot.

23. Challenge old ideas and ask your employees to do the same.

24. Question information from your sources from time to time. You might be
surprised at what they are not telling you.

25. Become curious about everything. Keep asking questions.

26. After asking lots of questions, shut up. Listen.

27. Ask the hard questions no one else is. Like “What are your
expectations” and “What is the reason we are doing ______?” and
“When can I expect ______ to be done?”

28. Use silence as a tool. Sometimes it is just a matter of waiting and

29. Practice brevity when counseling.

30. Become loquacious when singing the praises of your employee(s) or team

31. Become improvement driven by seeking small victories. They add up to
large accomplishments.

32. Ask forgiveness rather than permission from time to time. It shows
character, judgment and belief in yourself. Just be prepared to demonstrate the
effectiveness of what you did.

33. Celebrate the diversity in your workplace. It’s what made us great to
begin with.

34. Never let the Customer see how you run your circus. They don’t need to

35. Recognize that Leadership and Management are two different things.

36. Have compassion. Sometimes, you are all the person in front of you has
and they are looking to you for answers.

37. Don’t do workers work. Let them do it. Show them, teach them, coach them
and then, let them.

38. Be conscious of your language. Your employees see and hear everything.

39. Practice consistency in everything you do.

40. Be willing to jump in and lend a hand when needed, just not all of the
time. See #37.

41. Be the first to say Yes to new ideas and new projects.

42. Become resilient.

43. Take care of yourself physically.

44. Have a personal Mission Statement. If you have one, you can ask all of
your employees to have one as well.

45. Make sure everyone knows the company Mission Statement.

46. Counsel with your employees more than once a year.

47. Use Goals to inspire, not punish.

48. Be gracious.

49. Practice Courtesy with everyone. They will remember you for it.

50. Say “Thank You” every chance you get.


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