Robert Sutton, long-time business analyst and author of Good Boss, Bad Boss breaks down 12 maxims every great manager believes (and every bad manager rejects):
- I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
- My success depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure or breakthrough methods.
- My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
- One of the most important parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
- My job is to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions and idiocy of every stripe – and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
- I strive to be confident enough to convince people that I’m in charge, but humble enough to realize that I am often going to be wrong.
- I aim to fight as if I am right, and listen as if I am wrong, and teach my people to do the same.
- One of the best tests of my leadership is what happens after people make a mistake.
- My job is to encourage people to generate and test new ideas.
- It’s more important to eliminate the negative than accentuate the positive.
- How I do things is as important as what I do.
- Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like a jerk … and not realizing it.
Note: Sutton also claims the best way for managers to get results is by providing evidence-based advice. In other words, when it comes to setting goals or providing directions, do your best to point to some type of metric or measurement employees can use as a gauge (or you can use to clearly demonstrate why your point is so important).
It should be noted that Sutton’s 12 beliefs are the result of decades of work with managers around the world, as well as his own research based on countless studies and other evidence.
Source: “12 Things Good Bosses Believe,” by Robert Sutton,
Harvard Business Review Blog, 5/28/10.