In First, Break All the Rules, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman explore what the world’s greatest managers do differently.  Their conclusions are based on over 80,000 in-depth interviews of managers conducted by the Gallup organization.  The book reveals that the world’s greatest managers differ in age, gender, and race, but seem to have one thing in common – they do not hesitate to deviate from the rules of conventional wisdom. 

Remember the Golden Rule - treat others the way you would like to be treated?  It is rejected by the world’s best managers because it assumes that everyone wants to be treated the same way.  These managers make an earnest effort to get to know each of the employees that report to them and determine how each of them likes to be treated.  This leads to a more cohesive work environment, in which employees can trust their manager and know that they will be treated in a way that maximizes their potential and performance.

Conventional wisdom tells managers that an employee’s weaknesses can be corrected by training classes, but great managers understand that people do not change that much and see trying to correct a weakness as a waste of time.  Instead, great managers focus on an employee’s strengths and unique talents and work to draw these out as much as possible.  This is why it is imperative that managers select for talent, rather than try to teach it.

It is no surprise then that great managers prefer approaching performance in terms of outcome rather than a step by step procedure.  If employees are instructed to follow a rigid procedure, performance will likely suffer if all of the employees are not rule-driven, structured thinkers.  In contrast, defining performance in terms of outcome allows each employee to use his or her strengths and talents to achieve a common goal.

So remember, do not be afraid to abandon conventional standards and maximize your employees’ performance potential.

Share this article