By Bill Gates 5. To be a good manager, you have to like people and be good at There isn't a magic formula for good management, of course, but communicating. This is hard to fake. If you don't genuinely enjoy interif you're a manager perhaps these tips will help you be more effective. acting with people, it'll be hard to manage them well.
1. Choose a field thoughtfully. Make it one you enjoy. It’s hard to You must have a wide range of personal contacts within your orbe productive without genuine enthusiasm. This is true whether you're a ganization. You need relationships – not necessarily personal friendmanager or employee. ships – with a fair number of people, including your own employees.
You must encourage these people to tell you what's going on (good or 2. Hire carefully and be willing to fire. You need a strong team, bad) and give you feedback about what people are thinking about the because a mediocre team gives mediocre results, no matter how well company and your role in it.
managed it is.
6. Develop your people to do their jobs better than you can.
One common mistake is holding onto somebody who doesn't quite Transfer your skills to them.
measure up. It's easy to keep this person on die job because he's not terriThis is an exciting goal but it can be threatening to a manager ble at what he does. But a good manager will replace him or move him to who worries that he's training his replacement. If you're concerned ask a set of responsibilities where he can succeed unambiguously.
your boss: “If I develop somebody who can do my job super well, does 3. Create a productive environment. This is a particular challenge the company have some other challenge for me or not” because it requires different approaches depending on she context.
Many smart managers like to see their employees increase their Sometimes you maximize productivity by giving everybody his responsibilities because it frees the managers to tackle new or undone or her own office. Sometimes you achieve it by moving everybody into tasks.
open space. Sometimes you use financial incentives to stimulate pro7. Build morale. Make it clear there's plenty of good will to go ductivity. A combination of approaches is usually required. One elearound and that it's not just you as some hotshot manager who's going ment that almost always increases productivity is providing an informato look good if things go well.
tion system that empowers employees.
Give people a sense of the importance of what they're working When I was building Microsoft, I set out to create an environon – its importance to the company, its importance to customers.
ment where software developers could thrive. 1 wanted a company When you achieve great results, everybody involved should share where engineers liked to work. I wanted to create a culture that encourin the credit and feel good about it.
aged them to work together, share ideas and remain highly motivated. If 8. Take on projects yourself. You need to do more than comI hadn't been a software engineer myself, there's no way I could have municate.
achieved my goal.
The last thins people want is a boss who just dotes out stuff.
4. Define success. Make it clear to your employees what conFrom time to time prove you can be hands-on by taking on one of the stitutes success and how they should measure their achievements.
33 less attractive tasks and using it as an example of how your employees 1. Working together should meet challenges. The male approach to business is competitive, direct and confron9. Don't make the same decision twice. Spend the rime and tational. The end justifies the means*. Personal status and a focus on the thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don't revisit individual are important. The female method is collaborative. Collective the issue unnecessarily. If you're too willing to reopen issues, it interaction and responsibility are more important than personal achievement.
feres not only with, your execution but also with your motivation to Lateral thinking**, as well as goodwill and the well-being of the individmake a decision in the first place.
ual, are also of great importance.
People hate indecisive leadership so you have to make choices.
2. Tackling problems However that doesn't mean you have to decide everything the The male approach is to go to the heart of the problem, without moment it comes to your attention. Nor that you can't ever reconsider a taking into account secondary considerations. The female preference is decision.
to look at various options.
10. Let people know whom to please. Maybe it's you, maybe it's your boss and maybe it's somebody who works for you. You’re in trou3. Body language ble – and risking paralysis in your organisation – when employees start Male body language tends to be challenging. Female body lansaying to themselves: “Am I supposed to be making this person happy guage tends towards self-protection. A stereotypical female pose is sitor this other person happy They seem to have different priorities.” ting cross-legged; the male sits with legs apart to give an impression I don't pretend that these are the only 10 approaches a manager that he is in control. Male behaviour can include forceful gestures for should keep in mind, or even that they're the most important ones.
example banging a fist on the desk for effect. The female style does not There are lots of others. But these 10 ideas may help you manage well, usually include aggressive gestures.
and I hope they do.
4. Language Qu. Do you agree with all these aproaches a manager should The male way of speaking does not encourage discussion.
keep in mind. Do you consider them to be important. If YES-why, if Women tend to welcome others' opinions and contributions more.
NO-why 5. Conversation TEXT Men like to talk about their personal experiences and achievements or discuss 'masculine' topics such as cars or sport. Women tend to 1. Read the text and see if the writer's ideas are the same as talk about staff problems and personal matters.
2. The text has eight main sub-sections. Match the cartoons to 6. Meetings the sections. If a woman does not copy the male confrontational style, she is often ignored.
Men and women do things differently. There are, of course, exceptions to every generalisation, including this one.
7. Self-promotion Cristina Stuart is a managing director of Speakeasy Training, a Men find it easy to tell others about their successes. Women tend consultancy that runs courses for men and women working together.
to share or pass on the credit for a success.
Here she describes a few key differences between the sexes in the * The end justifies the means: it doesn’t matter what merhods you use; success is the workplace.
only important think.
** Lateral thinking: thinking in a creative way, making unusual connections.
35 8. Humour TEXT Men's humour can be cruel – a man's joke usually has a victim.
Female humour is less hurtful. A woman often jokes against herself.
“Invisible” Resource: Women for Boards CAVEAT Felice N. Schwartz Harvard Business Review Many men have a female style of working. Equally many women have a male approach. As Ms Stuart says many of the current manageDespite the increased appearance of Boards: (board of ment theorems – flatter organisations*, empowerment, managing by women on corporate boards in recent directors) group of consensus** – have a female style to them.
years, only 1,8 % of the directors of the top persons controlling a READING 1,300 boards are women. Almost without business.
exception, these women have been highly 1 The text is about the different styles that men and women “visible” for their achievements in govern- Visible: here, outhave in the workplace. Look at the cartoons and say which figures ment, education, and nonprofit circles. But standing, prominent, you think represent men and which represent women there are hundreds of other high achievers well-known.
who are not so visible. The problem for Nominating commitchairmen and nominating committees is tees: groups who sugtwofold: (I) identifying and selecting the gest possible represenbest of this “unknown” but talented pool of tatives or members (in candidates and (2) defining and communi- this case, board mem cating their expectations from women. bers).
Pool: common fund, supply, or service, provided by or shared among many.
Expectations: wishes or confidences of something to be done, produced, or received.
Women have only recently entered the boardroom. The popular perception is that large numbers have been appointed to corporate boards and that they are now a significant presence on the boards of most major corporations in the United States.
But that perception does not yet reflect * Flatter organisations: organisations in which there are fewer managers and people reality.
have equal status.
** Managing by consensus: managing by getting everyone to agree.
37 It is true that the number of women di- either by corporate chairmen and their Chairmen (chairman rectors in the United States has increased nominating committees or by the women of the board): the dramatically, from 147 in 1976 to 300 in candidates for those positions. highest ranking board 1979, but the ratio of female to male direc- members.
tors remains remarkably small: there are I will explore four separate aspects of only 300 women directors on only 365 of the problem:
the Fortune “1,300” boards, whereas there 1. The preferences of the chairmen. Preferences: which is are about 16,000 men on these boards.
2. Making a contract with the woman direc- better liked or rather This new phenomenon of the woman Derive: to have as a tor. chosen.
director is interesting; pressure to recruit starting point, source, 3. The challenge for women directors in the women directors, unlike that to employ or origin.
women in the general work force, does not Penalty: punishment 4. Selecting women candidates.
derive from legislation. The 935 compa- for failure to obey The chairmen's preferences Specifications: innies among the top 1,300 that do not have rules or keep an agreeSpecifications for directorships have structions for the dewomen on their boards are not subject to ment.
traditionally been loosely drawn. One thing sign and materials for penalty.
that has been fixed, however, is that the something to be made But the pressure to recruit women di- Stockholders: those chief executive officer has always been or done. Directorrectors is nevertheless real and recognized. who own shares in a.the most desirable candidate. Every CEO I ships: the positions It comes primarily from stockholders, company.
have talked with would like at least a half- held by board memfrom employees (in particular from women dozen chief executives on his board. When bers.
employees, especially those at high levels), the chairmen of the large corporations be- Chief executive offiand from consumers. This pressure reflects Corporate responsigan to be interested in recruiting women for cer (CEO): officer a growing widespread concern with equal bility: the idea of their boards, they sought women in their holding top position in employment opportunity, a tendency to duties that a company own image – chief executive officers. Such any administrative broaden definitions of corporate respon- is legally or morally women, however, are rare today. hierarchy, with duties sibility, and a demand for greater account- obliged to carry out.
The second preference of chairmen who of advising and directability on the part of both director and such that it may be became interested in recruiting women was ing organizational company. blamed if it does not.
often a woman who had the equivalent – or policies and of acting On the other hand, the incentives to ap- Accountability: renearly the equivalent – of CEO experience. as liaison officer bepoint women to boards have not yet been sponsibility; the exThe boards of the top ten companies in the tween the administraclearly perceived. The contribution ex- pectation of having to Fortune “1,300” do not include a single tive and legislative pected from women directors and the char- give an explanation.
male from business who is not a chief ex- bodies.
acteristics, perspectives, and expertise ecutive, a former CEO, or the equivalent.
required to make that contribution have not Expertise: specialized The chairmen's third preference then be- been adequately analyzed. The fascinating knowledge or ability.
came women of high achievement outside thing is that the contribution expected from the business world and preferably – but not women directors has not yet been defined 39 necessarily – from an area that would yield In effect, a contract, based on the board's need for a particular perspective or insight, perspective, and experience obvi- Perspective: point of expertise and a woman's ability to perform, ously relevant to the concerns of the corpo- view; the ability to must be made between the chairman and ration. Such women tend to be highly look at things from Ground rules: guidethe new director. Realistic ground rules “visible” and accessible; 120 of the 300 different points of would thereby be established so that the lines established so women currently serving on the top 1,300 view.
woman could make the needed contribution that things will run boards are from government, education, to the work of the board and derive both smoothly to be underand the nonprofit sector.
professional satisfaction and the respect of stood by everyone The chairmen's first three choices – women her peers from the contribution she makes.
chief executives, women with CEO-related There is a wide spectrum of significant Spectrum: range, experience, and women of high achieveyet different contributions that women di- scope, variety.
ment outside business – virtually exhausted rectors have been able to make, from their the supply of visible women.
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