Managing People at Work

People who hog credit and dislike playing second fiddle may work to undermine high-flying peers. You need to encourage teamwork between titans.

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Ask 100 CEOs for the weakest link in their leadership skills and more than half will probably admit, “I should listen better.” Why is it so hard for powerful people to listen?

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If you work for a hothead who screams and curses, do you yell back? As satisfying as it may feel at the time, ratcheting up your fury won’t solve the problem.

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Draft contingency plans as a training tool … Clarify two-way expectations with staffers … Let employees brag about their triumphs.

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If your professional career lasts long enough, you’ll hear advice from wiser (or at least older) bosses that begins to contradict itself. Then you’ll really be confused.

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More than 60 years ago, managers at Toyota, the Japanese car company, devised an ingeniously simple technique, later known as the “Five Whys”, to fix problems in its manufacturing process. The same approach can help you lead teams to identify solutions.

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When you address a roomful of VIPs, watch your nerves. Don’t fight the jitters by trying too hard. That can cause you to butter up bigwigs insincerely and praise them repeatedly.

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If you keep adding task after task to the point where your duties expand like a monstrous blob, you’re in trouble. The resulting complexity can immobilize even the most organized executive.

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Two years after Stephen P. Kaufman joined Arrowhead Electronics, he sought to improve the company’s inventory management system. Outside consultants recommended changes … that backfired.

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There’s no single secret to managing people. But two irreplaceable rules of smart supervision come close: Keep things simple and stoke employees’ loyalty.

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