7 Points for Strong Management

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As an executive in a small company, I have seen a lot in my time.  It’s a trite phrase, but never was a truer phrase said. 


As I wrote before, there are some dos and don’ts that I established in relationships with my employees.  Some of the don’ts are afterthoughts from grave errors I made.  Some were good calls that I made up front.  Oh, and if some are further elaborations of points I have made before, I’m over 50 and repeat myself…constantly.


First, you’re not a counselor to your employees.  If an employee has a personal problem in a marriage and needs a shoulder to cry on, recommend a marriage counselor.  I know of a man who had a good marriage and counseled a distraught female employee.  He ended up divorced and leaving his wife for the woman he was counseling.  So recognize if you are in a good marriage, you can destroy it by becoming enamored by an employee because of the tug of sympathy.  Your new trade-in marriage may be no better than the first; it’s just a new marriage with a lot of damaged people especially if you have children sunk in the wake.  (By the way, if you are away from home a lot on your job, stay in your hotel room at night and watch movies or football.  No match, no fire).


A second don’t I stated before, but it bears repeating because I added something to it.  You don’t buddy up with employees.  Also you don’t worry about their negative opinions that they harbor about you or the gossip they spread among themselves either.   Even prize racing horses have flies around their tail.   Business is about honest profits.  Satisfy that and you’re OK. 


Now don’t be a dictator either.  Just remember that you have to have a wall of separation.  This is why in the military, even the wives of officers cannot just hang out with enlisted wives.


This brings me to my point number three; handshakes are only good between you and your dog.  Contracts and witnesses are good between you and your employees.  Make sure appropriate wavers are signed for liability.  Have employees take appropriate courses in everything from driving a forklift, if it is in their job description, to sexual harassment courses.


Keep a timed log of activities at work that deal with you and your staff  - especially those of the opposite sex.   Make detailed notes on the meetings.  Just as good, hire a secretary of the same sex.  This is politically incorrect?  Life is politically incorrect. 


As far as just being a boss, the most important thing that you can do as a boss is point four, making command decisions.  On the spot you need to be able to decide what to do without holding a committee meeting.  Take the responsibility too; a wrong decision that is made that you accept ownership of states that you are the boss, not someone else. 


To continue on to point five, being an executive is about taking charge, everything else is the potatoes…that is except this point.  Your employee’s problems are mostly because of their bad choices.  You’re not the savior of this earth. 


Kids as I wrote before cost enough and breaking your rules to save them is part of being a parent.  An employee that you save, on the other hand, will jump ship in how many cases for 10 cents an hour?  A child who becomes President wants his Mom and Pop in the front row even if they flunked out of 2nd grade.  I could go on, but the point is made.


At any rate, point six is in the same vein as another point I made in another blog.  It allows you to exercise decency and compassion as a boss.   For the good, long term employees, use the command decision powers you have as a boss.  Being an employee’s friend and being generous too isn’t always foolhardy if it is tempered by wisdom.


To close, the balancing act in business is point number seven and that is to do all of the above and not be a jerk.   I know there are successful jerks, but never have I met a jerk that would have lost his fortune being a nice person.   And yes, sometimes nice people have to fire people.  Yet never do anything in anger.  A person is just as fired a calm few days later from now as he or she is a fiery today. 



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