Three Simple Rules for Being a Good Manager

From the annals that brought you everything you learned in kindergarten and adages that told you to “measure twice” and “wait 24 hours,” here are three simple rules for being a good manager:

Rule One: Give Clear Direction

The first is to give people clear direction. This is easier said than done. As the CBC’s Don Goodwin would say, “sorry for being so long-winded…I didn’t have the time to make it shorter”. Yogi Berra would be proud. Clear direction starts with goals that could be defined as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound).

Rule Two: Let Them Be Free

The second simple rule, once you’ve given clear direction, is to give people the freedom to do the job. The same type A, control-freak tendencies that got you into management, now need to be set aside. This taps into a whole new set of skills: delegation, empowerment, other-orientation, innovation, intelligence and basic active listening. With clear goals and proper training, engaged people don’t need to be told how to do their jobs.

Rule Three: Let Them Know Where They Stand

So you’ve given clear direction and provided the freedom to do the job, so now what? The third simple rule is to let them know where they stand. Perception is reality so don’t assume that everyone looks at performance the same way. Effective communication is often the missing link to successful management. Communication is a daily priority. There should be no surprises come performance review time. The first time someone hears that they are not performing to expectations should not be when they learn that they received zero bonus and no raise. It’s too late by then. Although you can study leadership and management for years, when you boil it down, there are really only these three simple rules:

  • Give people clear direction
  • Give them the freedom to do the job
  • Let them know where they stand

If you immediately apply these rules to your current context, your team’s overall performance will increase substantially.