I recently answered this question on the Quora blog. Here I edited the question a bit to make it clearer and I think the answer turned out to be very valuable piece of management advice to help Managers understand more key philosophies about managing people.  I also provided links to some other resources.

Management is an art, not a skill that can be put into an easy list of rules. Your question is kind of like asking “How do I paint a perfect work of art?”  Even Leonardo Davinci could never answer that as it takes years, even decades of experience to learn. However, some important foundational philosophies are known to be very effective. I’ll list a few below. I would recommend reading The Daily Drucker or other Peter Drucker books first. I also have a Recommended Reading List here with many great classics and serious Entrepreneurs and business owners should read most, if not all, of them.

Resources link:  Recommended Readings — C-Level Enterprises

Tried and true management philosophies:

  1. Set up a win-win scenario between every employee in the company providing challenge, learning, career growth and encouragement. More for those that put in the extra effort to study and learn on their own time. This will allow you to attract and keep the best people. As the best people want challenge, growth and appreciation. These are more important than money to many.
  2. Be honest and communicate well the goals (using MBOs/OKRs), responsibilities of each person with no ambiguity at all. I believe a monthly group process is critical to the success of any team over 5 people and for employee growth and feedback.
  3.  Listen as much as you talk. Don’t be a “know it all boss” that treats people like cattle or robots. Each person is different. Listen and take time to explain why you do something they may disagree with or not like.
  4. Be consistent, honest and fair to all. Encourage a meritocracy, not politics and favoritism which will grow and cause bigger problems over time.
  5. Coach people up to be better and give them the opportunity to “step up” to greater responsibility and let them learn some things on their own by mistakes that are not costly.
  6. Be willing to pay better people more. No two people are “equal” and if you treat everyone the same all the best people will leave. People get equal chances to be fair, but they never have equal effort, intelligence, creativity, abilities and results.
  7. Have quarterly reviews where there is 50–50 time talking and listening to each employee one-on-one.
  8. Give people opportunity to make bigger decisions. One of my favorite management phrases is “Use your best judgement”. This says you trust them to think it through and figure something out. Not run back to you with every little decision so they do not take any risk of failure. Failure is part of learning and in fact innovation and progress requires rapid failure and adjustment.

Bob Norton, CEO AirTight Management
CEO since 1989, CEO/Executive Coach and Orgnaizational Development Consultant (619) SCALE06