Only Management Advice You Ever Need

Only Management Advice You Ever Need

This was a viral cartoon in LinkedIn last year.

Best employee, career advice, middle management

It is self explanatory. Isn’t it?

The only problem is that when you have employees, they look like this.

There is diversity, yet they are similar. There are sides of people which you do not know about. If you know who is the best employee, it does not take a genius to advice on what to do with best employee.

But who is the best employee? Or do you have more than one best employee?
Like family, everyone comes with some strengths and weakness. Sometimes there are outstanding one best employee. Most of the times, it is about employees who contribute at various degrees. And some of their talent get noticed only in some special situations.

There was this one manager. He did not understand much. But he knew how to survive any moment. A tough meeting? No problem. Irate customer? He could say something and get away. He was well known for managing situations.

But his team had problem. Lot of his decisions made no sense to them. The team knew better about the product and the business. The manager did not consult them. Unhappy team escalated their grievances.

Top bosses did not relent. Nothing surprising. There is a quote from Steve Jobs. When Steve Jobs says, it must be right. Always.

If you want to keep everyone happy, do not be a leader. Sell ice cream.

The people started to quit. Many more followed. And the business got hit.

Rest of the story has multiple endings. It depends upon the organization and the top bosses. There are top bosses who are tough for the organization, but weak for their coterie. Some are the other way around. The real strength comes in using the right leadership principle at right time, including on themselves.

Here is the real take away. This is the only advice I have taken seriously, ever.

While taking advice, look at the strengths and weaknesses of the people giving it. Also see if it is applicable to current situation.

Managers are the 3rd largest group of people getting advice. (The first one is the pregnant women on what to eat, what not to eat. Second is the people who get into relationships !)
Those are in action get lot of advice. On people, business, operations and finance. Many ideas are conflicting.

When I get advice, I check whether the advisers have walked the talk. What are their life experiences, their fears, their success, their failures…

Then I check about the context in which the advice was applied successfully. Also I check if the advisers have any stake in my situation.

I look inward to see whether there is ‘adequate’ information to take a call. Once I understand my situation objectively (rather, as objectively as possible), rest is easy.

There are so many times I applied right advice at wrong situation and wondered whether I blew it. Also I applied right advice at right time and got benefited.
Over the period of time, I have become cautious with flashy quotes. They are not universal truths. If fully believed, they become religions in their own way.

What is your favorite management advice? Any story to share? Write in the comments.

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5 years ago

The bottmline.. Do not be totally totally carried away by flowery language and attractive quotes. There is no alternate to know the situation, know people and applying own brain.