INSTANT MBA: Good Leaders Don't Always Play By The Rules

Photo: niallkennedy/ Flickr

Today’s advice comes from CEO Tim Bucher’s interview with The New York Times’ Corner Office blog.“There’s a saying I like: Management is about doing things right — dotting the I’s, crossing the T’s, giving reviews, doing all the H.R. stuff. But leadership is about doing the right thing. And it’s very different.”

Good leaders don’t always play by the rules. They do what they feel is best in a given situation, even if that means breaking the rules sometimes, says Bucher.

Doing “the right thing,” like helping out an employee in need even when HR rules forbid it, can contribute to employee loyalty, which is a huge return on a small investment. 

Bucher, who founded the wine company, says this kind of leadership is easier to pull off at a small company than a larger corporate environment. In fact, he believes that startup managers need to take a different approach than managers at other companies — like giving your employees more freedom and subsequently getting things done much quicker. 

When he recently hired a senior VP of marketing, Bucher told her up front that he was a “terrible manager,” but said “I will lead you, and we will do great things together.” 

“That’s not a normal management style, but if you set that expectation with folks, it works.”

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