Basic rules for leading a company
Pay people what they are worth, not what you can afford. Remember that salary is not something you lose, but it is an investment. Take a break from time to time and ask yourself how much every employee is worth to you. If someone has stellar performance he deserves a stellar reward. If someone is a poor worker he deserves a poor salary.
At the same time, that will show you on whom you can count on and for whom you should try to find replacement. It's always better to have 10 fantastic and well-paid workers then 1,000 average employees on an average salary.
Take the time to share your experiences and insights with your employees. They learn from those CEO's generous enough to share their experiences and insights. They don't need a best friend or a shoulder to cry on. They need a good, experienced leader who can show them when to run and when to hide. You are on the top of food chain and you are role model for those below you.
So, like it or not, go and see the people and share your experience with them. The only thing you can get is a more motivated workforce with better results.
Tell the news to employees straight, even when it's a bad news. The most important thing any chief can do is to tell it to people straight. No managerial and marketing phrases, no sugar-coating, no going around: the more you hesitate with a bad news the more troubles you have.
While doing that, keep management off employee's backs. The most important aspect of that is giving employees what they need to do their jobs. Not more but also not less. Your employees must have all means secure to do their jobs properly. If they don't have, that's your fault.
Take the heat and share the praise. It takes courage to take the heat and humility to share the praise. That comes naturally to great bosses and to the rest of them that's something that can be learned.
Put yourself upfront and cover your workers in a conflict situation and you will see very soon that they will go with you through the fire if needed. People need support and they will quickly recognize that you are watching their back. They will return that favour in the best possible way.
Delegate responsibility, not tasks. Every boss delegates, but the crappy ones think that means dumping tasks they hate on workers. Good chiefs delegate responsibility and hold people accountable.
You don't need to tell "Turn on the computer, now run that e-mail application, then press that button...", instead of that a simple sentence "Send that e-mail" will do. Task-delegating bosses that go to extreme eventually can lead to the closed company. Sad but true. Don't be one of those chiefs. ■