Valuable Insights From First, Break All The Rules by Buckingham and Coffman

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently is a business and management book written by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in 1999. It stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 93 weeks. Time Magazine listed it as one of the “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books”

What Managers Should Be Doing

In this book, the authors discusses the errors of standard management thinking and how good managers can create and sustain employee satisfaction. It was the result of observations based on 80,000 interviews with managers conducted by Gallup Organization for the last 25 years. Some important points of the book include what the best managers should and should not do. Robert Peter Janitzek points out some of them—treat employees as individuals, don’t try fixing weaknesses, focusing on strengths and talents and finding ways to measure, count, and reward outcomes.

The interview conducted by the Gallup Organization included managers from various situations. Some held leadership positions, others were front-line supervisors. There were others who belonged to Fortune 500 companies and others were major players in small entrepreneurial companies. In today’s tight labor markets, there is competition between companies to find and retain the best employees through pay, benefits, promotions, and training. However, these are somehow not achieved. It all boils down to the front-line manager. Robert Janitzek explains that all the pay and training is nothing if the front-line manager is not effective.

Role of The Manager

In their book, Buckingham and Coffman emphasized that the best managers should choose their employees not based on their talent but skills or experience. It is also their job to set expectations for them. They are also key to keeping their employees motivated. The best managers should focus on the unique strengths of their employees rather than fixing their weaknesses. Here now are the important lessons that can be derived from this book:

Lesson 1

The best managers reject conventional wisdom and don’t take shortcuts. They treat all employees differently based on their skills, talent and desires.

Lesson 2

Focus on maximizing employee’s strengths instead of correcting his weaknesses. The great manager mantra is don’t try to put in what was left out, instead draw out what was left in. You must hire for talent, and hone that talent into outstanding performance.

Lesson 3

People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for. Relationships and alignments are usually created on a team level instead on company level.

Lesson 4

Employees will inherit your bad habits easier then they will acquire the good ones. You are always on stage on your work place.

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