Wick Communications

The other kind of management

In Management on 30 Jun 2016 at 2:55 pm

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Henry Ward is a handsome lug and the president and CEO of eShares. That is pretty much all I know about him (except that his concern allows private companies to manage equity electronically and that he likes to ride his bicycle in my neighborhood. Thanks, Google!)

Oh, and he’s also the kind of manager we all deserve.

That last bit I know because of his own blog post earlier this week. If you manage people in our organization, you should really take a look. Most of his tips are simply compassion masquerading as management style.

That said, a couple of them strike me as profound. How does he get employees to perform better? By telling them what they are doing well. To wit:

Most managers attempt to minimize an employee’s bad work instead of maximizing their good work. When 98% of an employee’s work is great and 2% is not, managers give feedback on the 2%.

We do this because schools taught us to. Tests started with a maximum score of 100 and points were deducted for every wrong answer. If tests started at zero and awarded points for every correct answer, we would be encouraged to continue doing better. Instead, we learn to fear mistakes and point them out in others.

He is entirely correct. This focus on the bad stuff tends to skew our relations with employees and just makes both sides unhappy. Obviously, you can’t ignore the problems. But don’t you want to maximize good work instead of minimizing bad work? …

What I like about Ward’s style is that he makes managers take responsibilities. He asks them to do the crummy work and delegate the good stuff. He says if he fires anyone, it’s ultimately his fault. He says managers shouldn’t get congrats so much as condolences. Your promotion, he says, isn’t cause to rest on your laurels. It’s a chance to show you deserve them.

Management by fear is a thing of the past.


  1. One of best bits of advice, not just for newsies.

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