Counter-intuitive lessons about management. Highly recommended for managers and leaders, but also teachers and parents.
Meet each situation armed not with a battery of techniques but with openness. Transcend technique.
Effective leaders and managers do not regard control as the main concern. Instead, they approach situations sometimes as learners, sometimes as teachers, sometimes as both. They turn confusion into understanding. They see a bigger picture. They trust the wisdom of the group. Their strength is not in control alone, but in other qualities: passion, tenacity, patience, courage, firmness, enthusiasm, wonder.
The metamessage is more powerful than the message itself.
Giving praise establishes the fact that you are in a position to sit in judgement.
Participative management - involving the people who have to do the work in the decisions that will affect them - is based upon the idea that people are better than we think they are and can be counted on to make wise choices. A considerable amount of research shows that people learn faster, produce more, and are more highly motivated when participative methods are employed.
The better things are, the worse they feel: THE THEORY OF RISING EXPECTATIONS
Gossip is the single most community-building and social-bonding experience we have. Sharing stories of others' troubles is what brings us together.
Better managers try to fix situations, not people, by making structural changes in their organizations. Rather than attempting to change individuals, they are much more likely to change reporting relationships, enlarge or reduce the expectations of the job, etc.
Most employees are trying to do the best they can. They prefer to do good work, to cooperate, to meet objectives. They prefer harmony over conflict, action over inaction, productivity over delays. Not everyone, and not all the time. But in general, people want to perform effectively. Managers may have trouble recognizing this because we have never bothered to study human beings at their best.
Strengths can become weaknesses when we rely too much on them. People who are exceptionally beautiful may fail to build up other qualities.
Better managers recognize that it's more important for them to like their employees, than for their employees to like them.
The problem is not in raising the morale of the work force: it's in raising their own morale as managers.
Leadership is distributed among members of a group, and they in turn play such vital roles as taskmaster, clown, mother figure, and so on. Relying on one person - the manager - to provide all the leadership builds expectations that cannot be met. It robs the group of its powers, leading to overdependence on the manager.
Leaders who successfully move from one organization to another are able to do this because they define their task as evoking the knowledge, skills, and creativity of those who are already with the organization. They are especially able to elicit the intelligence and participation of group members who otherwise might not join the discussions.
The best leaders are servants of their people.
People who were most successful in achieving power did not dominate the group: rather, they served it.
Humility comes natually to the best leaders. They seldom take credit themselves but instead give credit to the group with which they have worked. They characteristically make life easier for their employees. They are constantly aranging situations, engineering jobs, smoothing out the processes, removing the barriers. They think about who needs what. They define their job as finding ways of releasing the creative potential that exists within each individual employee and in each group with which they work.
Good employees anticipate what the needs are going to be, then offer solutions not problems, ideas not complaints.
Leadership is not a matter of expertise. We wouldn't want "expert" friends, "expert" wifes, lovers, or parents.
With the right kind of education, managers can gain better self-understanding, learn about their own interpersonal styles, their reactions to and impact on others, prejudices and blind spots, strengths and weaknesses. A better understanding of themselves and of their feelings gives all managers added trust in their perceptions, reactions, impulses, and instincts. If any one thing can be said to be true about good leaders, it's that they trust their instincts.
Managers become like good hosts at a party, making certain that everything works smoothly, taking care of the little things that make the experience a good one. The best leaders make their organizations places where their passion becomes the organizing force.
[From the Great Books Series. Also see The Success Manual - Encyclopedia of Advice, which contains summaries of 100+ Most useful books.]