Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

D is for Don’t

Don'tMost leadership gurus talk a lot about what you should do to be effective with others. I’m going to offer this short-and-sweet list to remind you of things that you shouldn’t do if you want people to follow you.

In no particular order…

  • Don’t pretend to listen to them. Slow down, be quiet, and focus on what they’re saying.
  • Don’t “delegate” things that are just tasks you don’t feel like doing.
  • Don’t have two sets of standards – one for you, and one for everyone else. If you expect them to be to work at time, be at work on time.
  • Don’t have a go-to employee with whom you share otherwise confidential information.
  • Don’t reprimand your people in public. Find a place that’s private and confidential.
  • Don’t make everything all about you – make it all about them.
  • Don’t take them for granted.
  • Don’t assume they’re always going to be enthusiastic, upbeat, confident or eager to take on the next challenge. Expect them, just like you, to have bad days, be off their game occasionally, or be distracted by a personal issue.
  • Don’t expect them to share your enthusiasm about the latest change in policy or priority, just because you think it’s a great idea. Give them time to wrap their brains around it.
  • Don’t expect them to get over it when something unpleasant happens, especially if you’re not willing to let them talk it through.
  • Don’t neglect their personal lives. While you don’t have to be too personal, show some interest in the things that are important to them outside work.
  • Don’t make them sit through never-ending meetings that aren’t engaging, aren’t moving the ball forward, and appear to just be vehicles for you to pontificate your “view from the bridge.”

Last but not least, don’t ignore red flags when you see them.

If you are beginning to wonder if you have a conflict that needs to be addressed, a morale issue, or an elephant in the room, put it on the table and deal with it. If you’re wrong and there’s no issue, this will take about 3 minutes. If you’re right, it’s far better to nip it early than to wait until it’s grown into something much worse.


This article is part of a series of 26 posts for the month of April called “Blogging from A to Z,” an idea first suggested by Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.