Book Review: First, Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham

How great management differs from conventional management is demonstrated in the book First, Break all the Rules. 

According to the authors, some common perceptions about careers and management are false. The book introduces its readers to the key notions great managers – those who achieve performance excellence for their employees – use to do their jobs, based on interviews conducted by the authors for Gallup.

You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Lesson 1: Great managers don’t control their employees, they focus on reaching desired outcomes

In the end, management is most concerned with employee performance. As a result, great managers place less emphasis on controlling their employees and more emphasis on monitoring their performance outcomes.

Managers are aware that they have limited control over their employees. The first thing to realize is that managers are not doing the work that will lead to the desired results. In this case, they can only motivate their employees. Thus, the manager’s control can be rethought as a type of mediated control – or “remote control.”

Managers, however, remain accountable for performance outcomes even when they do not have direct control over them. As a result, they should focus on the work’s desired outcomes.

Great managers define these goals for their employees and then allow them to devise their own strategies for achieving them.

It is not always easy to achieve such objectives. As a result, rather than defining rules that sales clerks must follow, for example, the manager should define only what she wants. This allows her salespeople to select the most comfortable selling style for them.

This method has numerous advantages.

One advantage is that it is efficient because the manager does not waste time devising and enforcing a working style.

Taking responsibility also encourages employees to do so, attracting qualified employees. Managers who define what they want their employees to accomplish create a work environment in which employees feel motivated to achieve their objectives without being told how.

Furthermore, because employees’ abilities are put to the test, the work environment helps them discover their strengths.

A great manager understands that achieving a goal does not require the development of a rigid, well-defined method. What matters most at the end of the day is that the desired outcome is achieved.

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Lesson 2: The best managers create a set of basic rules that guarantee a basic level of customer satisfaction

Managers who allow their employees to be themselves do not give them carte blanche to do whatever they want.

Employees must, in fact, follow certain rules in certain situations.

The first step is to adhere to any safety and accuracy guidelines. Banks follow strict internal guidelines and follow regulatory steps to ensure that money is handled securely and precisely.

Second, any industry or company-specific standards and regulations must be followed, as this will ensure the company’s legitimacy and ability to compete with other companies on the market. Engineers, for example, must ensure that the product operates at the standard electrical frequency, while accountants must understand and apply double-entry bookkeeping rules.

Because customer expectations revolve around accuracy, availability, partnership, and advice, these rules are the bare minimum for meeting and satisfying them.

In order to satisfy customers, two basic factors must be met: accuracy and availability. A workshop must employ mechanics who can do the job properly in addition to having ready-made wheels in stock if a customer wants her car’s wheels changed.

Great managers insisted on their employees adhering to these two fundamental rules. Employees continue to play a significant role in achieving customer satisfaction.

A customer who wants her wheels exchanged may become a maximally satisfied customer if the mechanic offers advice on how to extend the life of the wheels or engages the customer in a pleasant conversation while waiting.

If the mechanic has the additional skill of being outgoing, he or she may be able to make a customer’s waiting time more pleasant.

These fundamental guidelines ensure a minimum level of customer satisfaction and performance results. Employees should be allowed to pursue their interests as well.

Lesson 3: Managers who are great focus on developing and learning from their employees

They accomplish this by developing successful, personal relationships with their employees, which allows them to grow.

Furthermore, they spend a significant amount of time getting to know their best employees, not just their talents, but the whole picture of their lives. Great managers can only effectively develop their employees if they know them well.

Managers must understand what is important to their employees in order to appropriately motivate or reward them. Is there anything more awkward than giving a worker something she despises as a reward? A very public display of appreciation may make excellent but shy employees feel uncomfortable or misunderstood.

When it comes to figuring out how to improve their performance, great managers turn to their excellent employees. They don’t look back on mistakes or average employees.

What’s the deal?

When learning from mistakes, it is possible to make incorrect assumptions.

Consider a nurse who has emotional relationships with her patients but becomes overwhelmed and unable to perform her duties. Developing emotional relationships may appear to be counterproductive.

You would, however, be incorrect.

Excellent nurses have a special skill that enables them to form strong emotional bonds with their patients. There is a problem here because you only observed poor nurses, and with those nurses, this ability to connect emotionally can develop incorrectly.

Second, setting business objectives based on average employee performance can lead to an underestimation of your potential.

To learn what makes a skilled employee, look to them: excellent nurses demonstrate the importance of developing trusting relationships with patients, and excellent workers demonstrate that performance can be continuously improved.

According to our observations, high-performing employees deserve to be studied. Employees can improve their performance as a result, and managers can gain a better understanding of how to achieve excellence.

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Lesson 4: Successful managers closely analyze their employees’ poor performance and work to overcome it

When a manager’s performance falls short of expectations, great managers address the issue immediately.

Before jumping to conclusions about poor performance, great managers conduct an analysis of the situation. They will, for example, look for ways to improve performance, such as teaching teachable skills or expanding knowledge. The right training will most likely improve this.

Furthermore, when an employee performs poorly, they question whether their own management made a mistake.

What if, on the other hand, poor performance was caused by the employee’s incompetence rather than a lack of skills? Because no one is perfect, and not everyone possesses the necessary skills to excel in a particular field, this may not be unusual.

What should a great manager do in these situations? The manager should attempt to work around the lack of talent.

Managers can eliminate or make irrelevant a worker’s weakness by establishing support systems (for example, a spell check software for a bad speller). The company can also find a complementary partner for the employee, forming a team in which the member’s specific non-talent complements his or her talent.

Great managers, on the other hand, do not hesitate to fire untalented employees who prove to be a real weakness. It is preferable for an employee who lacks a specific skill to leave a position where that skill is required.

However, this does not imply that he or she is a generally ineffective employee. They are simply able to put their skills to better use elsewhere.

Because they do not blame the employee, it is not the manager’s fault if he or she is tough. In fact, they’re the only ones to blame because of a casting error.

About the Author

Curt Coffman and Marcus Buckingham are both business consultants and researchers. At the time the book was published, the authors worked for Gallup Organization, an international performance management consulting firm.

Buckingham and Coffman have started their own consulting and management training businesses in addition to writing other best-selling business books.

Buy The Book: First, Break all the Rules

If you want to buy the book First, Break all the Rules, you can get it from the following links:

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