When I got out of college and into the workforce I found, much to my surprise, I was working for semi-incompetent (sometimes incompetent), semi-clueless (and sometimes clueless) bosses.
Based on my participation in the jobs I’ve held, I’ve come to some conclusions as to what makes an effective leader.
1. Every boss should listen to the rebels and the “trouble-makers.” They’re the ones who tell the truth. Every organization needs someone to tell the emperor he has no clothes.
2. To find out what’s really going on and what needs to be changed, ask the people at the “bottom.” They’re the ones who do most of the work and actually know what the problems are. Not once have I seen this done in any job I’ve had.
3. Share the planning. If you don’t no one will trust you.
4. Know when to ignore your yes-men. In fact, why do you even need them? Usually they’re called advisors, and just because they’re advisors doesn’t mean they know more than the workers.
5. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Just because you may have an MBA doesn’t mean you’re right all the time. Or even most of the time. Or even half the time. Your workers know more about what’s going on than you do.
6. Workers have lives outside work. I once worked for a guy who thought his workers were supposed to work 55 hours a week. He didn’t last very long as a manager.
7. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I worked for one place that kept transferring people trying to make as much profit as possible (They were actually getting rid of good people to put in bad people.) They went out of business.
My experience has been that when people don’t follow these rules, they have a high turnover of employees, workers not only walk off but sabotage the place before leaving, and they file lawsuits every chance they can.