NINTH RULE OF MANAGEMENT

The first rule of management is that successful management is actually more about how you manage yourself rather than being about how you manage others (see “First rule of management” posted June 25, 2012).

The second rule of management is that the key to your own success is totally dependent on the success of your people (see “Second rule of management” posted September 24, 2012).

The third rule of management is that no man is an island, and you need to build a network in all directions (see “Third rule of management” posted October 1, 2012).

The fourth rule of management is that you do not manage people, but you manage their behaviour (see “Fourth rule of management” posted October 15, 2012).

The fifth rule of management is that if you are serious about moving up, you need to first move sideways (see “Fifth rule of management” posted November 5, 2012).

The sixth rule of management is that you should not over-manage your people (see “Sixth rule of management” posted November 19, 2012).

The seventh rule of management is that if you don’t manage the financials they will manage you (see “Seventh rule of management” posted Nov 26th, 2012).

The eighth rule of management is to keep it simple (see “Eighth Rule of management” posted January 21, 2012).

The ninth rule of management is that it’s meant to be fun for all those involved around you.

Dale Carnegie, author and personal development guru (1888-1955) had it right when he said “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.”

Signature of Dale Carnegie; via Wkimedia Commons

Signature of Dale Carnegie; via Wkimedia Commons


It is important to note that the emphasis is on “fun”, rather than on” funny”. I have had bosses who believed that they had a wonderful sense of humour, but who actually did little to make it fun to work for them. I have always believed that it is important that we take the job that we do seriously, but that we do not necessarily take ourselves too seriously.

It is critical that a manager creates an environment where not only are they excited about coming to work, but so are their people and those around them. People will define “fun” in different ways, but there are some key elements that tend to help in making the workplace a welcoming environment while rightly maintaining the challenges and behaviours needed for success.

Some focus areas:

Celebrate often. Not all the time, so as to not trivialise the successes, but often enough so people can enjoy and share in them. These do not have to be elaborate affairs … ring a bell for a new order, hand out a Rolls Royce hubcap for outstanding performance (see “Being serious is overrated” posted November 18, 2011), hand write a personal letter of thanks … whatever suits your style as a manager and the culture of your team.

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins; via Wikimedia Commons

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins; via Wikimedia Commons


Create a level playing field for everyone in terms of opportunities. For example, I am not a great advocate of imposed diversity quotas for any minority groups in business (including women), as I believe that these can be failure traps, but I am a great believer that we should make it totally possible for people to have a chance to succeed, such as creating and/or supporting child care facilities for your own team members who are parents of young children.(see “Stupid work fads” posted September 5, 2011).

Whenever possible, include family members, particularly when celebrating success, as often they have as much to do with the success of an employee as does the individual being honoured. Success recognition when family members are present adds significantly to the value of the achievement.

Author: Carfax2; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: Carfax2; CC BY-SA 3.0 license; via Wikimedia Commons


Help the stragglers. Even the best people will have times when things are not going as planned. It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that people understand that you are there to help them get through these times with the support that is needed. (See “Move them up or move them out” posted August 23, 2010}.

Use open plan as a way to build teamwork rather than just as a way of saving money on office fit-out. Replacing boxes of offices with boxes of cubicles misses an opportunity to create a dynamic and vibrant environment where teams can come together, disband and reform as needed. If used properly a flexible, mobile, open plan design can be colourful and exciting, and can foster a climate that enables people to collaborate effectively.

Let people know that they are allowed to make honest mistakes, as long as they don’t try to cover them up, and on the condition that they learn from them so that they are not repeated. A blame and punishment culture will limit creativity and innovation as people become nervous about trying anything new because of a fear of failure.

Challenge people so that they have an opportunity to learn and grow, and ensure that they have available the things that are needed to give them a strong chance to succeed. Goals should be achievable, but with some effort and stretch, otherwise their achievement has only minimal and fleeting pleasure.

Develop people so that they can grow the skills and knowledge not only to do their current job, but also to be able to compete for future opportunities that may arise throughout the entire organisation, as skilled and valued managers are creators of talent for their whole company, not just for themselves.

Laugh often as the business world and the individuals involved in it are a wonderful source of merriment and humour, particularly in my own industry of IT. Laughing at others is easy to do, but it takes real skill and gives greater return on effort to learn to laugh at ourselves. If unsure how to go about doing this, see “Dilbert” regularly.

Author: GNOME icon artists; GNU General Public License; via Wikimedia Commons

Author: GNOME icon artists; GNU General Public License; via Wikimedia Commons


Let them go when their time is over with thanks for what they have contributed whilst in your team. You cannot hang on to good people forever, and when they are ready to move on, even when their choice is not pleasing such as moving to a competitor, you should do so with grace and gratitude. It makes good sense to keep the relationship alive after they move on.

As Bob Basso, American trainer and author, says “If it’s not fun, you’re not doing it right.”

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4 Responses to NINTH RULE OF MANAGEMENT

  1. Thierry says:

    Thank you one more time for the wise advises in clear wording. I hope you will not stop at 9 even though rule 8 might be prohibitive …

    • leshayman says:

      Thierry, I had planned on just 10 rules in this series, so next week will be #10, but I will continue to write on Management and Leadership topics generally in the future. Thank you for your kind words. Les

  2. Bruce Rankin says:

    Excellent Les, especially liked they way you defined ‘fun’. Incidentally one of the best courses I attended in my life was when I persuaded Bob Tyrrell to send me to the Dale Carnegie course in Chch way back in 1969. 14 four hour evenings of stretching 40 people outside our comfort zones – and fun! Having just watched the outstanding movie ‘Lincoln’ – what a leader of men he was – reminds me I read a delightful book back then by Dale Carnegie called “Lincoln the Unknown”. Focused on his human qualities as a leader. Best, Bruce

    • leshayman says:

      Bruce, thanks for the insight into Dale Carnegie, he was definitely one of the pioneers of “self help”. On a personal note, I met an old Auckland neighbour (Ian) of yours in Buenos Aires. He saw your name on some Blog comments and asked me to pass on regards, if you were the same person he remembered. Les

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