The Best Managers SCREAM at People

‘GOD #### IT, you stupid F##KING people. We are so “F##KED.” WE HAVE TO GET IT TOGETHER NOW, OR HEADS ARE GONNA ROLL.” — stop it. This does not work.

NOTE: This is not a reflection of people I have worked with for the past 10 years. But the quote above did happen.

Rule with the Fist, Die by the Fist

The best managers do not SCREAM at people and it is a sign of poor intellect, low emotional IQ, low ego IQ, and poor self-esteem.

Over the past 30 years, I have built some of the best offshore and onshore technical teams. I have a 10 point system for doing it, and it works. But the most important ingredient is ME. It is how I behave and act. It is how I treat people. There are only a few instances where screaming is required. Managing people is NOT ONE OF THEM! COOLER HEADS PREVAIL! “YEAH, WE CLOSED THE BIG DEAL!” SCREAM ALL DAY FROM THE ROOFTOPS FOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

The two most important things a company does:

  1. Select its people
  2. Manage its people

So here are 10 things you can do to become a great manager!

  1. Hire People Smarter than You: Nothing says I am secure with myself like a person who is not afraid to hire people smarter than themselves. I always try to hire people smarter than me and set them off to do great things. When I build a team the first person I hire is my replacement. I don’t want to stay in a job forever. I want to grow. I let this person know that during the interview. I tell that person that you are going to be the next manager when I leave or move up. I then say this: “you are my partner in the building of this team. Help me hire the best and smartest people we can find.” TRUTH: The weaker the people on your team the harder you have to work. Smarter than you also means that the people you hire are not jerks!
  2. Let your Employees Manage You: If you hire smart people you shouldn’t have to tell them what to do. They should tell you what they need and what to do. If they don’t then you didn’t hire people smarter than you. A good manager is like a good parent. They listen and they observe quietly. They know how to nudge without their employees knowing.
  3. Keep Your Cool: Nothing turns smart people off like a culture of rage. I once worked for a very large consulting organization. Every morning we had a standup call. So every morning we had a rage fest. Yes, we had problems that needed to be addressed. We eventually got rid of Mr. Yell and brought in a calm and collected change maker. We turned the team around and we were back on track in 45 days. No one missed Mr. Yell.
  4. Treat them like Family: Many people spend more time working than they do with their families. Sad but true. So treat people like they are your brother, sister, spouse, or adult child. Learn what they love outside of work. If they have a significant other, pets or children, know their names. Take a genuine interest in their lives and their passions. Show them that you care about them outside of work.
  5. Be Transparent: Keep your team informed of what is going on around them. Rumors fly all the time. Let them know what you are able to tell them without getting yourself into trouble. I know a manager cannot always divulge everything but you can say things like: “As soon as I can tell you what is going on I will. Yes, there is something going on. Don’t panic and let's talk 1:1 about it.”
  6. Take Full Responsibility: When things go bad, and they will. Take full responsibility and dive in and help. Smart people are secure enough to let you know when the stuff hits the fan. You then talk it out, come up with a plan, and act. Now the opposite is true when you have great things happen. A bad manager will take full responsibility for the good things that their employees do. Nothing discourages behaviors like hogging the press. When your employees do something awesome: HOLD A PARADE IN THEIR HONOR! Give credit when things go great, take the blame when they don’t.
  7. Public Praise — Private Feedback: I once worked for a manager who really let us know that Stacy messed up. He went on and on in public on an all-hands call. Stacy was a friend of mine and I knew her very well. I knew she was crushed and humiliated. Yes, she made a mistake and yes she owned it. It was not an earth-shattering mistake. She was not a pattern mistake maker. But this manager was out for blood and he took her out publicly. She left the organization four months later and now works for our competitor.
  8. Don’t Shoot the Messenger: If an employee gives you some bad news the last thing you want to do is crush them. If you shoot the messenger, you will join the ranks of the ill-informed. Work it out, own it, create a plan of action, and execute!
  9. Let Them Go: I always say to my employees, if you can find a better job internally or externally GO FOR IT. If you can find a better manager then please take a new position. I am secure and I am a good person, I can handle people leaving. Smart people are going to leave you for better opportunities. Encourage people to grow! Help them grow. Help them leave! Hopefully, they don’t leave the organization.
  10. Communicate & Keep your Word: Have regular 1:1’s and SHOW UP! Nothing says you aren’t important than a manager who does not show up to meetings and 1:1’s. If you cannot make the meeting reschedule the meeting. Never make a promise you cannot keep. People understand that they can't always get what they want. Instead, let the person know of your intentions and that things may not go to plan. Nothing worse than building an expectation and blowing it.

CONCLUSION:

I didn’t know a single thing about management until I held my babies in my arms at 3 am. They were upset, in pain, and crying. No matter what I did, I couldn’t sooth the pain. I held my baby close to my chest and rocked forth and back in the chair as the 4 am hour came and went. I hummed softly and did everything I could. I was completely vulnerable and powerless other than being there. Welcome to management Dad!

Then my babies grew into teenagers. Teenagers do dumb things, they wreck cars, they get in trouble at school, and they fumble and stumble. I never yelled at my kids. Why? Because I want to help them succeed in life. If I yell at them they will be afraid of me and tell me nothing. If I am cool and calm they will seek out advice, help, guidance, and look at me as a protector. My oldest is a Medical Doctor with a Masters in Neuroscience. I think I know what I am doing!

The best thing that taught me how to be a good manager was my family. The best books about being a manager are books about raising children. No, your employees are not your children! Go pick up a book about raising children, you might be surprised! I was.