MANAGEMENT


Welcome! This list of quotes is part of the Management & Leadership Quotes series of the Bigroads.com website.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons



No matter where you work or what you do, you can be the best boss that your staffers have ever had.

- Paul Falcone

It is never a good idea to approach people for the first time when you need something from them.

- Michael Watkins

All everyone wants is to feel special, to be treated with respect, and to be seen as an individual.

- Lee Cockerell

Try to give suggestions, not orders.

- Dale Carnegie

Constantly ask yourself if you spent the day chasing mice or hunting antelope.

- Tim Ferriss

In general, your people will do what you tell them to do. If you pay attention to something, they will. Otherwise, they won’t. That is the stark reality in a nutshell.

- Fred Lee

It is wise to get bad news on the table early in order to lower unrealistic expectations.

- Michael Watkins

Junior leaders must fully understand what is within their decision making authority-the left and right limits of their responsibility.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Allow others to be human and make mistakes. But don’t make the same mistake twice.

- Cy Charney

Tell your employees that part of their salary is for giving you their opinions and ideas.

- Lee Cockerell

How consistent are you in putting their career and development needs above your own in a goodwill attempt to help them build their resumes and prepare for the next step in progression in their careers – at your company or elsewhere?

- Paul Falcone

Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions, and you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted.

- Tim Ferriss

One of your responsibilities as a leader is to identify process problems and act as quickly as possible to fix them.

- Lee Cockerell

Your front line troopers are going to know more than you; they should know more than you.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people.

- Jim Collins

Practice the 10-80-10 principle. Help with the first 10% by casting vision, laying down parameters, providing resources, and giving encouragement. Then once staff have done the middle 80% help them take it across the finish line.

- John Maxwell

A good boss trains you to take her place, and when she ultimately gets promoted (or leaves), you have a chance to progress.

- Jeffrey Fox

Ask yourself what is the most urgent thing you feel you must or should do today. Ask this every day.

- Tim Ferriss

Never write a nasty memo or email.

- Jeffrey Fox

The time to micromanage is when you have someone that isn’t good at their job, or doesn’t do a good job, or doesn’t show up on time, or doesn’t run things right.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

The deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be (or feel) important.

- Dr. Dewey

The deepest principal in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

- William James

Ignore the details of processes at your own peril.

- Lee Cockerell

If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

- Dale Carnegie

The difference between an active job seeker and a passive job seeker is one bad day in the office.

- Paul Falcone

You need to be approachable enough for your staff to feel safe explaining why something is a problematic order.

- Michael Abrashoff

I genuinely believe that management is among the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers more ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team.

- Clayton M. Christensen

"We’ve always done it that way" could be that you’ve been doing it wrong all along.

- Lee Cockerell

Never kowtow to unreasonable people.

- Tim Ferriss

Set quarterly goals for your managers.

- Lee Iacocca

If someone’s not doing what they are supposed to do. Or they’re failing. Or they’re letting you down. Then yes. You’ve got to get in their gill and micromanage them.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

When everyone matters and everyone knows he or she matters, employees are happy to come to work, and they are eager to give you their energy, creativity, and loyalty.

- Lee Cockerell

We usually tend to overrate rather than underrate our importance and to conclude that far too many things can only be done by ourselves. Even very effective executives still do a great many unnecessary, unproductive things.

- Peter Drucker

You can’t blame your boss for not giving you the support you need. Plenty of people will say ‘It’s my boss’s fault.’ No, it’s actually your fault because you haven’t educated him, you haven’t influenced him, you haven’t explained to him in a manner he understands why you need this support that you need. That’s extreme ownership. Own it all.

- Tim Ferriss

Develop an uncanny ability to get to the root of problems.

- Lee Iacocca

Employees generally leave managers, not organizations.

- unknown

People do not do what their organizations expect. They do what their managers pay attention to.

- Fred Lee

Make sure everyone matters…and that everyone knows it.

- Lee Cockerell

A crisis that occurs a second time is a crisis that must not occur again.

- Peter Drucker

The only metrics that will truly matter to my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people.

- Clayton M. Christensen

A ship commanded by a micromanager and his or her hierarchy of sub-micromanagers is no breeding ground for individual initiative.

- Michael Abrashoff

It’s far better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

- Lee Cockerell

Human beings are generally not capable of managing more than 6-10 people, particularly when things go sideways and inevitable contingencies arise.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

If your bosses see you lifting burdens off their shoulders, and they find out they can trust you, they stay out of your face. And that gives you the freedom you need to operate independently and improve your ship.

- Michael Abrashoff

When people are made to feel that they matter, they develop self-confidence and self-esteem, and that translates to good performance.

- Lee Cockerell

What gets measured gets managed.

- Tim Ferriss

Be accessible to your new direct reports, but not overly so.

- Michael Watkins

It is more useful to focus on making sure the accident never happens again, rather than finding someone to blame.

- Michael Abrashoff

People adjust to the level of demands made on them.

- Peter Drucker

You should never bring petty problems to the attention of your boss if you can solve them yourself. But in critical situations, I advise the opposite. Let him or her know as soon as possible. Bad news does not improve with age.

- Michael Abrashoff

Look for and leverage teachable moments.

- Michael Watkins

Do unto your employees as you would have them do unto your customers.

- Lee Cockerell

Having fun is a notion you can apply to any workplace anywhere.

- Michael Abrashoff

The job of management is to win in the short term while making sure you’re in an even strong position to win in the future.

- John Kotter

Don’t let people get cozy or set in their ways. Always do the opposite of what they expect. Keep your people anxious and off-balance.

- Lee Iacocca

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.

- Tim Ferriss

One of the surest signs of a dysfunctional group is that it doesn’t hold regular staff meetings.

- Paul Falcone

If your job isn’t fun, you have to change jobs or find ways to add fun.

- Jeffrey Fox

Many middle managers remain middle managers, failing to get promoted, because they know how to work with people below them, but not with people above them.

- Robert T Kiyosaki

Happy employees ensure happy customers and happy customers ensure happy shareholders.

- Simon Sinek

A re-current crisis should always have been foreseen. It should be prevented going forward, or at least reduced to a routine.

- Peter Drucker

Maintain both a “to do list" and a “not to do list".

- Tim Ferriss

Ask your direct reports who the promising leaders are and how they’re being developed for their next roles.

- Lee Cockerell

If unpleasant news is on the way, let your boss know first and early. Nobody wants unpleasant surprises, particularly ones that might embarrass them.

- Cy Charney

Figure out what 20% of sources are causing 80% of problems and unhappiness. This is the 80/20 rule and it also applies to your customers, friends, and family.

- Tim Ferriss

If a company has strong processes in place, managers have flexibility about which employees they put on which assignments-because the process will work regardless of who performs it.

- Clayton M. Christensen

When you see a bad trend developing, you need to yell and holler until people pay attention to it.

- Michael Abrashoff

Test yourself regularly about this. Whenever you leave a person ask yourself “does that person honestly feel better because they talked with me"? This self-training device works. Apply it when talking with employees, family, customers, even with casual acquaintances.

- David J. Schwartz

Always think before reacting.

- Shawn Achor

You cannot ask those who work for you to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself.

- John Maxwell

Hold yourself accountable for the performance of the organization.

- Peter Drucker

Let little bad things happen to get the big important things done.

- Tim Ferriss

Employees want “ARE" from management: appreciation, recognition, and encouragement. Shower your employees with ARE and you will see rapid improvement in both employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.

- Lee Cockerell

After every major decision, event, or maneuver, those involved gathered around my chair on the bridge wing and critiqued it. Even if things had gone well, we still analyzed them. Sometimes things go right by accident, and you are left with the dangerous illusion that it was your doing. We documented what we were trying to do, how we did it, what the conditions and variables were, and how we could improve the process in the future.

- Michael Abrashoff

Think like a top manager and stay in tune with the “hot buttons" of the day.

- Cy Charney

When you first opened your business or started in your present position, you probably paid great attention to detail, keeping everything spotless and running like a well-oiled machine. Is it still that way? If not, you’re not alone: it’s common for attention to detail to deteriorate over time.

- Lee Cockerell

Executives should ask their staff what they you do that wastes their time without contributing to their effectiveness.

- Peter Drucker

No one likes to be micromanaged so it should only be for a short period of time and it should feel like a chore to you.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

People will generally only do what they are held accountable to do.

- Fred Lee

You don’t succeed for very long by kicking people around.

- Lee Iacocca

A well-managed office is boring. Nothing exciting happens in it because crisis’ have been anticipated and have been converted into routine.

- Peter Drucker

Make sure all employees understand why they are doing what they are doing.

- Simon Sinek

Praise your subordinates to your supervisor by putting in plugs for them at every opportunity.

- David J. Schwartz

Focus deeply on finding inefficiencies, waste, and redundancies.

- Tim Ferriss

Be demanding but be able to be satisfied.

- Michael Watkins

When you want to wean someone off of micromanaging, you say something like “OK, you got this. You know what you’re doing. I’m stepping back.

- Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

At the end of each day, spend 10 minutes evaluating how well you met the goals you set the previous day and also plan for the next day.

- Michael Watkins

The smartest bosses encourage employees to get a breath of fresh air at least once a day.

- Shawn Achor

Start each day with a list of all the activities you wish to accomplish.

- Cy Charney

Get used to having older people work for you quickly.

- David J. Schwartz

Every single thing/process/etc. in your growing company breaks every time you triple in size.

- Tim Ferriss

Evaluate key processes regularly. Involve your people in documenting all steps on a process map. Is each step necessary? Is there any duplication? Does each step add value?

- Cy Charney

Excellent managers make people feel that they: Are asked, not questioned… Are overpaid, not underpaid… Are measured, not monitored… Are people, not personnel… Are sold on what to do, not told… Are instrumental, not instruments… Are workers, not worked… Are contributors, not costs… Are needed, and heeded...

- Jeffrey Fox

Train your staff on your responsibilities as if you were planning to leave the organization next week.

- unknown

Try to also propose solutions whenever you present a problem to your superior.

- unknown

Are there walls or silos between departments at your company? Knock them down and ensure that upstream and downstream departments understand and appreciate each others' processes and workflows.

- unknown

A second/backup person should be well-trained on all processes. Critical processes should have at least two well-trained backups.

- unknown

Ten Management & Leadership Tips:

(a) Learn to remember names;
(b) Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you;
(c) Be an old-shoe, old-hat kind of individual;
(d) Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you;
(e) Don’t be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all;
(f) Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you;
(g) Study to get the “scratchy" elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious of;
(h) Sincerely attempt to heal every misunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances;
(i) Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely;
(j) Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone’s achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment; and
(k) Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you.


- Lyndon Johnson

Staff feel more engaged and have more job satisfaction when they understand and appreciate the "big picture".

- unknown

Try to find and fix inefficiencies, reduce waste, and eliminate redundancies on a daily basis.

- unknown

If you see crises or "fire alarms" occuring repeatedly on the same process, the process most likely needs to be redesigned to make it more routine.

- unknown

Spend time exploring the unused functionality of your core systems. Very few people do this. There may be helpful features or better ways of doing or processing things.

- unknown

Review all the forms, templates, brochures, and deliverables of your department. When was the last time the design and/or content were updated or refreshed with new ideas?

- unknown

Recap all meetings with a clear list of takeaways and who is responsible for each open item / follow-up task.

- unknown

Non-routine processes, reports, and tasks should always be well-documented since odds are high you'll forget some steps and important details.

- unknown

Avoid the "it's always been done that way" trap. Understand the WHY's behind what you are doing.

- unknown