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How To Become A Great Boss: The Rules for Getting and Keeping the Best Employees
By Jeffrey J. Fox
How To Become A Great Boss: The Rules for Getting and Keeping the Best Employees by Jeffrey J. Fox provides solid, highly-readable business lessons to help entrepreneurs improve their leadership and management skills.
Fox says bosses should hire only 'A' players or people who have the potential to become 'A' players. Fox defines an 'A player' as someone combining attitude and ability. Fox says, while you might be able to groom a B player into an A player, you'll never be able to turn a C player into an A player. The best place for C players is with the competition.
"Don't let mediocrity in the door," advises Fox, or it will spread throughout the organization. "Once mediocrity is pervasive, it is as hard to rid from the organization as it is to rid lice from a camel," writes Fox.
Pointing out the huge cost of a mishire, including wasted training, damaged morale, and the missed opportunity of having the job done right, Fox suggests bosses adopt the motto of "Hire Slow, Fire Fast."
In addition to doing full background checks and giving tests and extensive interviews when hiring, Fox recommends that all job roles ultimately serve the company's end customer.
Fox writes: "It is the customer's money that funds paychecks, bonuses, health insurance, taxes, and everything else. Because it is the customer who pays the employees, then the employees—all employees, including the boss—work for the customer. Therefore, every single job in a company must be designed to get or keep customers."
Once you've hired the right people for the right roles, you must let employees do their jobs and not micromanage or do the work yourself— Fox's motto: "Don't Hire a Dog and Bark Yourself." You must give employees adequate training and be sure they understand their responsibilities. Fox suggests bosses spend at least ten minutes each day teaching.
Fox writes: "The great boss provides learning opportunities, new experiences, in-house and outside seminars, reading lists, on-the-job training, and hands-on instruction. The great boss knows that the best people are learners. ..."
Fox tells us that many bosses spend too much time with poor-performing employees. He recommends bosses spend most of their time with their best employees. Fox writes: "Too many bosses are attracted to the problematical employees as moths to the flame. Too many bosses invest too much time with low-performing employees who deliver a low return on the time invested in them. Too many bosses under-invest in their best-performing people assets."
In addition to developing the art of grooming employees for new roles in your company and fostering learning, Fox says you must be effective in delegating work.
"If you are delegating without clear direction or without providing appropriate training, you are not delegating you are relegating—relegating the employee to error making and misperformance. If you delegate without a schedule for follow-up and inspection, you haven't delegated, you have abdicated," writes Fox.
Fox says bosses don't get what they expect. They get what they inspect. Because everyone looks to the boss to set an example, if the boss isn't concerned about customer satisfaction, for example, the employees won't care about customer satisfaction either.
How To Become A Great Boss: The Rules for Getting and Keeping the Best Employees contains many short and interesting stories about leadership. For example, Fox describes the owner of a construction contracting company who tried to lead by intimidation. The construction owner was rude and mean to everybody, and suppliers and employees alike didn't really care about his success. Instead of working effectively for him, employees weren't attentive to detail and made many costly "mistakes." Rather than earning $2 million on a $23 million construction project, the contractor lost $2 million and went out-of-business.