2The Four Critical Behaviors

[Author's Note: If you don't want to learn the fundamental principles that underlie my recommendations, and you think you're ready to dive right in to what to do and how to do it, you can skip this chapter and the next one, and go directly to Chapter 4, “Know Your People—One On Ones.” I don't recommend it, but if you're impatient to get going, go.]

When my Manager Tools cofounder Mike Auzenne and I started our management careers, we had been taught very little about managing others. We struggled to learn what to do and how to do it, probably just the way you have struggled, and are doing so now. We didn't know that there are basically four things that great managers do a lot better than average and poor managers do. Once we understood these four things, we decided to start Manager Tools so that managers wouldn't have to learn the hard way, as we did.

The four critical behaviors that an effective manager engages in to produce results and retain team members are the following:

  1. Get to Know Your People.
  2. Communicate about Performance.
  3. Ask for More.
  4. Push Work Down.

Managers who get results and keep their people almost always do these four things much better than other managers do. (I say, “almost always” because there are exceptions. If you're incredibly smart—on the level of a Bill Gates, Andy Bechtolsheim, Warren Buffett, or Mike Morrisroe—you can probably get by just being smarter than everyone else. But, hey, you're probably not that smart. Mike ...

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