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Nice Guys Finish Last

Apr 10, 2019 by Jack Stack 0 Comments

Myths of managers in business

Excerpted from The Great Game of Business.

We've all heard how you have to be an S.O.B. to succeed in business. How you have to step on other people to get results. How it's okay to throw your weight around because it's a tough world and you win through intimidation. It's all a crock. I've worked on the shop floor. Believe me, nobody there wants to hear a guy telling you to bust your butt if he's rolling around in a Mercedes and beating up the people he works with. When you flaunt what you've got, when you intimidate, when you treat people badly, you lose power. I've watched guys like that throughout my life. I've learned it's just a matter of time before they get theirs.

3rd Higher Law (1)

Whenever I see someone take advantage of other people, whenever I see a boss acting like an S.O.B., I know his days are numbered. People like that take themselves out of The Game. They don't understand The Game. They've no idea.

But there are enough jerks out there promoting this garbage to keep the myth alive. I think it's one of the reasons so many people hate management, which is a big problem because that keeps good people from becoming managers, and businesses need all the good managers they can get. Moving from a line job into management can be scary. One of your biggest fears is that people won't like you anymore. A lot of workers turn down management jobs because they're afraid of losing their friends. It can be a real identity crisis. They worry that, when you're a manager, you can only associate with other managers.

I had those concerns, too, when I first became a manager, but my reaction was to get angry at the guys who suddenly didn't want to sit around and bullshit with me anymore. The problem wasn't me. I hadn't changed. They were the ones who were different. Their attitude was, "You're the boss, and we can't sit with you anymore." Eventually I got fed up and called them on it. I said, "What is this? You mean, because I have a title, my underwear's different now?" I overcame the problem, and I forced them to overcome it, too. But it wasn't easy.

To tell the truth, it's seldom easy to make that transition from a line job into management. That's another myth: managers have it better than workers. There's a reason you get paid more when you become a manager. You're taking on more responsibility, and you're giving up some of your freedom. You're moving into a glass house. When you become somebody else's boss, everything you do gets scrutinized in a way it isn't when you're on the line. You have to set examples. You have to walk the talk. If you don't, you're going to fail as a manager. Being an S.O.B. gets you nowhere. That's why I get angry at the loudmouths who talk about winning through intimidation. Not only are they dead wrong, but they are promoting one of the most destructive myths in American business.

What makes a good leader? Check out these tools for your leadership and management teams and stay tuned for more on the five Myths of Management. 

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Topics: Leadership, Open-Book Management

Jack Stack
Written by Jack Stack

Jack Stack is President and CEO of SRC Holdings Corporation, which remanufactures gasoline and diesel engines for the automotive and off-highway markets, distributes engine kits, manufactures power units and remanufactures electrical components, and conducts seminars and training programs specializing in all aspects of teaching people how to implement open-book management. He is also the author of three books, The Great Game of Business, A Stake in the Outcome, and Change The Game: Saving The American Dream By Closing The Gap Between The Haves And The Have-Nots.

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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.