The 3 Things Essential Things Good Managers Do

Management theory has known that the “Carrot or Stick” method isn’t effective for optimizing your team.

What happens?

Employees work just hard enough to get the carrot, or just enough to avoid the stick.

This means that after a certain point money isn’t a motivator anymore, it’s a de-motivator.

When your team is incentivized to be mediocre, they’ll perform perfectly every time. 

Perfectly mediocre.

So how do you get them to hustle for you?

1. Give them more ownership and responsibility.

If you give them clear expectations about what’s required in the deliverable, and a clear mission statement for the project, do you really need to hold their hands?

As long as it’s ethical and is done by your deadline, does it matter how the work gets done? How might the pressure of breathing over their shoulder impact their performance?

2. Give them positive feedback when they do something well.

If they never know when they’re doing something well, they will have no reason to continue doing it. You’ve told them what they’re doing isn’t valuable.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

– William Arthur Ward

3. Be prepared to let projects fail.

Just because you’re a great manager doesn’t mean your team will always perform their best. 

Pro-tip: If you’re seeing the same mistakes happen, be forgiving the first time, and ask what they need or how you can help. The second time, express your disappointment but assert that you’re there to help.

If you’ve asked how you can help, provided resources or tools, and output is still low, you either have a dud or someone who is experiencing a temporary life event.

It’s your job to build enough trust with your team so that they feel comfortable telling you about what’s going on in their lives. 

If they don’t hit their performance criteria (that you both agreed on when you hired them) let them go. The saying goes “hire slow, fire fast.”

What are some ways you motivate your team intrinsically? Reply and let me know.

Shiny Red Balls

It’s your next great business idea.

It’s the thing you can do to just make some quick cash on the side.

It’s the side project that hasn’t really given you back anything.

All of these things are distractions.

They’re shiny red balls that catch our attention, lead us astray, and rob us of our effort.

They pull us away from doing the hard and difficult work of sticking to the path, gritting our teeth, and getting through the scary part of building our projects.

What will you have in place to protect yourself from the shiny red balls?

A candid mentor to call you out? A cash flow report to put your attention on survival? A time line you gave yourself and your business partner?

When your brain lights up at the sight of a shiny red ball and it’s all you can see, how will you snap yourself out of it?

If you know you can’t trust yourself in those moments, how will you get past them?

It’s up to your present self to protect and inform your future self.


The School of Experience

Most of us think that if someone graduated from Princeton or Stanford, that they must really know what they’re doing.

Most of us trust the status quo that says “if an ivy league school vetted this person, then they’re good enough to work for me or on my project.”

You know what’s better?


No one will argue with your lack of certifications or degrees if you have a track record of executing.

Just start building.

If you build something today, you’ll already be ahead of every graduate who has “Microsoft Office” listed in the “Skills” section of their resume.

Just because a degree is the status quo doesn’t mean it’s important.

Results are what’s important.

There’s no need to focus on anything else.