They say that happy employees are the key to high productivity in the workplace. Hogwash! True business leaders know that this kind hippy-commune thinking only leads to your staff taking advantage of you. In fact, the only real way to be a good manager is to lead with an iron fist — no velvet glove necessary.
At first, following the guidelines below might seem a little counterintuitive, because one never knows when you’re making your employee just a tad irritated, or if she’s actually going to make trouble by looking around for a new jobs. But keep at it! After all, if your employees don’t fear and dread you, how good of a manager could you possibly be?
DO Put Your Staff on the Spot
Holding frequent meetings is a key component of management. Not because of the chance it gives department to communicate, of course — but because of the inherently public nature of this kind of workplace gathering. After all, what’s more logical after making your staff sweat than hanging them out to dry?
Not only are you giving your department members a quick lesson in the “sink or swim” nature of the working world, but it’s often a convenient way to deflect any little errors you yourself may have made. “Didn’t you tell me you were on top of that, Molly?” is a classic boss gambit, and you’ll feel like a boss using it!
DON’T Forget to Punch Your Staff (in)
Even if your staff isn’t on the clock literally, there’s no reason not to obsessively track their every move. Sure, they don’t have to punch a timecard (thanks to reasons beyond your control), but that’s no reason not to make them sweat it out if they’re a bit late, or if they have to leave early for a doctor’s appointment.
Start by send plenty of inter-office memos reminding your department of current policies regarding sick leave, vacation time, what constitutes a half day, and so forth. Do this randomly, just to make everyone paranoid that it was prompted by a complaint about one of them, specifically.
Finally, don’t forget to ask for details of those medical and personal days off. OK, technically sometimes that’s against corporate policy, but who’s going to risk their job just because the boss asked some annoying questions? So go ahead and wonder to your assistant why he’d need to have two doctor’s appointments in one month, or suggest to your district manager that maybe a sibling could help get her parents settled into senior housing instead of you. Believe us, they’ll appreciate your input!
DO Pit Your Staff Against Each Other
Just as you can use face time with the higher-ups to blame your underlings for your little slip-ups, you can utilize your own staff meetings to generate “healthy competition.” (Or, if you’re leading a retail team that doesn’t have formal meetings, stir up a little controversy behind the cash registers.) Ask who’s responsible for some minor issue, and then sarcastically say, “Well, don’t everyone answer at once!” They’re sure to start pointing fingers at one another in no time.
Of course, these mind games are fun in their own right, but they do serve a practical purpose. Again, the dangerous idea persists that a team working in harmony will get the best results. It’s time to explode that myth. What you’re really looking for is a bunch of individual workers, each trying to curry favor with you by keeping tabs on one another. What better way to ensure your own rise?
DON’T Have an Open Door Policy
First of all, make sure you have an actual door, even if your workplace isn’t really big enough to justify it. The only way to truly earn respect is to have a workspace that’s bigger than everyone else’s. If you have to take away a break room to do it, don’t worry — it’s for the good of the company.
Once that’s accomplished, keep your office door closed as much as possible. It’s nobody’s business what you’re doing, for one thing. In fact, that’s the whole point of becoming a manager: delegating as much work as possible.
Secondly, having an open door policy only encourages your staff to consider you a resource for any questions or concerns they have. And it’s not like you’re their assistant, right?
So, keep that door fully closed, emerging only to sow a little healthy dissent — er, competition — among the ranks, and to see if you can get anyone to tell you whether your assistant is really at the dentist like he said. After all, that’s just good business practice!