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16 Management Rules That Make No Sense

June 20, 2014

Back in February, I started posting Management Rules that Make No Sense. I started with 14 and then added a couple.

These are rules that I’ve adopted over the course of a 25 year career in IT. I’ve been a support engineer, an on-site troubleshooter, a trainer, and about 10 years ago I went into management. Currently I’m a project manager for a large telecommunications company.

I originally avoided going into management because I didn’t want to have to be a jerk the way I saw other managers do. It was a shock and a revelation to me when I realized you didn’t HAVE to be a jerk. (No, You’re Just a Jerk.)

I’ve used these management rules to set expectation and work with my teams. In every case, the team has seemed to appreciate them. They print them out and pin them up on their walls. Maybe I’ll put them into a book.

Here are the 16 management rules that don’t make a lot of sense.

1. In the absence of orders: ATTACK!
Make the decision and I’ll back you.

2. If it bleeds, it leads
In a meeting, Bad news first, not last… and not on a Friday at the end of the day. Augh!

3. Money is a lousy motivator
If you have enough. If not, it’s the only motivator.
Free soda is a much more effective motivator than the equivalent value in cash.

4. Company loyalty only ever goes one way
Not because companies don’t show loyalty, but because they cannot. As an employee, this is a very good thing.

5. The power of saying “I don’t know”
If you admit your mistakes, people will trust you more.

6. Remember Your Lines
I have a reason for EVERY decision I make at work. I assume that my employees are ALWAYS watching me.

7. I want the jacks not the balls
I want the guys who are GREAT at a few things, not merely good at a lot of things.

8. The art of the joke – Why you shouldn’t worry about your job if I’m teasing you about your job
I will never use humor to cover an awkward situation.

9. The danger of being the smartest guy in the room
If you are, you need to hire smarter people.

10. I saved my company $25K/month and all I got was this lousy t-shirt
Rewards can be demotivating as well. Don’t be cheap.
Tell them it’s all about you, make it all about them

11. Your company has a uniform even if it doesn’t have a dress code
You have to “dress the part,” no matter what part you are playing.

12. “It’s magic.
First, “How can you maintain your reputation as a miracle worker if you give honest estimates?” –Montgomery Scott. Second, sometimes techy people will become distracted by the shiny bits in your answer.

13. Decide what you want and what you’re willing to accept. When you get one or the other, STOP!
A simple guide to win/win negotiations.

14. If you have to go anyway, it’s better to lead than to follow
Know when to cut your losses and embrace the “enemy.”

15. Tell them it’s all about you. Make it all about them.
Show loyalty to your team and they will more than pay you back.

16. If your customers can’t get to your services it’s your problem. . .even if it’s not your fault.
The most important rule of them all.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for
    your next write ups thanks once again.

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