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You Can't Fire Everyone

Un libro in lingua di Hank Gilman edito da Penguin Group USA, 2011

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When Hank Gilman started his career, he aspired to be a great journalist, writing about prominent people, important events, and, of course, the largest watermelons in Beaufort County, South Carolina (see page 7). But just a few years later, he became an editor and suddenly found himself in charge of a slew of difficult reporters without a clue how to manage them.

Plenty of managers start out this way, never asking, expecting, or training to be responsible for others. These accidental bosses often find that learning to manage is like learning to swim by being dropped into the deep end of the pool. It's hard just to keep their heads above water, let alone swim to the other side.

Now the deputy managing editor at Fortune, Gilman learned the hard way about what makes a good boss. He shares his insights from the good, bad, ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre stories from more than two decades of managing. Among the takeaways:

It isn't easy to go from friend to boss: When you supervise your former peers, remember that you have a new best friendùyour boss. You have to make sure, even at the expense of a party invitation or two, that your pals don't take advantage. You'll realize soon enough that your job, not friendship, comes first.

Sometimes firing is an act of mercy: Some bosses think the best way to fire someone is to get them so mad they'll quit. But what's more humane? Firing them quickly or letting them languish in a job they have no chance of excelling at?

Take care of the talent: Motivating your best employees is one of the most important parts of your job. That means you have to treat your stars differently. Otherwise, you'd pay everyone the same and your company would be one happy socialist workplace.

Focus on your employees' strengths: Many managers insist on making people do things they're just not cut out to do. It's like trying to get the short guy to dunk a basketball. Let him shoot the three-pointers! Everyone is different, so figure out what each of your people does best.

Filled with entertaining and often irreverent stories straight from the management trenches, You Can't Fire Everyone is perfect for any new boss looking for a little help.

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