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Managing in the trenches

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in Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

Don’t be turned off by the book’s title. The Street-Smart Entrepreneur (Addicus Books, 1998) is actually a great book for managers in large organizations as well as bootstrapping business owners. The author, Jay Goltz, levels with us about how to manage staff, hire winners and stick to a budget.

Goltz, who runs a custom picture framing business in Chicago, shares 133 lessons using the format “what I used to think” and “nobody told me.”

Three common themes run through his book. First, he gleefully turns conventional wisdom on its side (example: He argues that motivation is overrated; it’s more important not to demotivate). Second, he warns against the easy-to-overlook danger of mediocre employees. Finally, he’s a numbers-lover who champions the use of “control mechanisms” to manage more fairly and ensure accountability.

Here are some of Goltz’s most eyeopening insights:

It’s lonely at the top. He warns that while bosses must show sensitivity to underlings, they’re not going to get much support from them. If you rely on praise or warm fuzzies from your staff, you’ll fail as a leader.

Delegation can sting. While Goltz applauds managers who dish out responsibility, he reminds us that “screw-ups happen.” Yet he argues that’s no reason not to delegate, because micromanaging is even worse.

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