Guidelines for the boss

by Rod Smith

Leadership is lonely space

1. Have private conversations in private, not in shared spaces like the cafeteria or staff room. Siding up to someone, whispering, pulling another into a corner for a “confidential” moment in communal space is unsettling for colleagues. Conduct confidential conversations only in your office.

2. Don’t play favorites with those you oversee. No matter how honorable your intentions or pure your affections, singling a few persons out for special treatment will come back to bite you. You are not employed to be popular. You are employed to get the job done.

3. When problems arise among those with whom you work, go to the source. Avoid focusing on the problem or the person. Focus on finding solutions.

4. Do not talk (or write) negatively, even in jest, of your employer. When you have a grievance, conduct yourself in the exact manner you’d want someone who works under you to behave.

5. Watch out for the destructive strength that comes with so-called weakness. If unheeded the whiners, groaners, and gossipers (often they are “support staff”) will grind your work to a halt. You must stand up to serial complainers no matter “loving” and caring they appear to be.

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