Cummings’ Rules of Being The Boss…

Having been a manager, I have a pretty solid set of rules I’ve always followed that not only work well, but inspired some true loyalty from the people I employed — honestly, to the point that I felt truly moved by the dedication I received from them.  With any luck, someone will read it one day, and it may inspire them as a manager.

FE_DA_BossRelax_032713425x2831.  Never make your employees do something you’re not willing to do yourself.
Yes, part of being a Boss is delegating, but never make people who work under you do something that you’re not willing to take on yourself should the time call for it.

2.  Be straight with those who work with you.
If you have intentions that could effect them, get their input on it, if at all possible; which brings us to:

3.  Be willing to get input from those under your charge.
Those who work for you can not only draw inspiration from your confidence in them, but it can make them more productive if they feel their opinion is respected.  There are times autocratic leadership is required — but in just as many, if not more times, more democratic authority can make for just as effective, if not even better solutions.

4.  Be straight with prospective hires.
Often, people are just not the right fit for the job you’re advertising for, and you have to let them down — particularly those who need the work.  Be up front with your feelings, but offer them reassurance.  There’s no reason to create ill-will with those who could very well pass along someone else to you who could be a better fit.  While it’s not your job to hand-hold or counsel a prospective employee, it doesn’t hurt to give them a little positive reinforcement.

5.  NEVER fire on a Friday.
To me this is a capital offense I see too many managers make, particularly those who are calculating a firing in advance that could otherwise be served at another time.  Not only is it depressing for your employee facing the terminal pen, it can also create an atmosphere of distrust.  Mondays are a better time for this; not only for your employee (Getting fired sucks, but hey, I can go home early on Monday!)  Getting a pink slip on a Friday kills a weekend.  Hard.

6.  Encourage productivity and positive work environments.
Start an “Employee of the Month” program.  Offer prizes or incentives for those who put in the extra “little bit” or who perform just that little bit more.  Not only does this create some friendly rivalry in the office to compete for the prizes you lay out, but it also can show who has dedication and drive to succeed.

7.  Reward those who go out of the way for you on a favor.
Sometimes, you may have to call an employee in for that weekend audit, or something that they normally wouldn’t do.  While they’re being paid for their work, give them a little something extra.  Buy them a lunch, or offer to pick up a set of concert tickets for the band you hear them talk about.  After they’ve done their job during their otherwise off-time…  offer them a $20 from your wallet.  The gesture alone says a lot, even if they refuse.

8.  Ask them “How’s everything going, all okay?”
As their supervisor, the decisions you make effect their lives.  With the swipe of a pen, your decisions can make their day, or throw them into a depression.  While you may not care to know about every detail of their lives… be interested in your employees.  Ask them about their hobbies and interests.  Not only does this give you an insight as to who they are past their nametag, it inspires a feeling of trust and interest that can make an employee feel important, and that they really are a part of your team.  If you see a change in their behavior, even if it’s not effecting their performance, ask them about it.  Give them a moment or two to vent.  They produce to make you productive — stuff like that only helps.

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