The book “First, Break all the Rules”, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (Gallup), tells you “[w]hat the world’s greatest managers do differently.” Beneath their interesting insights.

  1. “People don’t change that much.
    Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out.
    Try to draw out what was left in.
    That is hard enough.”

  2. Focus on basic needs first, like expectations and equipment. If you move onto lofty goals straightaway, without ensuring the basics, employees will suffer from mountain sickness.

  3. A manager acts as a catalyst between the employees’ talents and the customers’ needs, one employee at a time:

    • “Select for talent;
    • Define the right outcomes;
    • Focus on strengths;
    • Find the right fit.”

  4. Distinguish between skills and talents. Skills can be taught. Talents are innate. Beware of ‘competencies’ that happen to lump skills and talents together.

  5. The point of management “is to focus people towards performance.” Performance is defined as an outcome valued by an internal or external customer.

  6. “Don’t let the creed overshadow the message.” In other words: be wary of well-meaning incentives that might end up counterproductive.

  7. The greatest managers find and focus on the strengths of each person. With that information they can “manage by exception.”

  8. When a manager pays little attention to good behavior, thinking “no news is good news”, it will lead to this good behavior withering away.

  9. The Peter principle: conventional wisdom gets people promoted to their level of incompetence.

  10. “[S]elf-discovery is the driving, guiding force for a healthy career.”

  11. Tough love. Don’t get employees what they want, but what is right for them.

  12. Expect this from a talented employee:

    • “Look in the mirror any chance you get;
    • Muse (each month);
    • Discover yourself;
    • Build your constituency;
    • Keep track;
    • Catch your peers doing something right.”

Elsewhere online you will find the twelve questions to measure the strength of a workplace, according to Gallup. Share.