All Articles Leadership Management What one piece of management advice do you rely on most, and why?

What one piece of management advice do you rely on most, and why?

11 entrepreneurs share the big piece of advice that's stuck with them.

5 min read



The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter for entrepreneurs.

1. Think in terms of the person’s wants

When managing my team, I use a tactic from Dale Carnegie: Think in terms of the other person’s wants. The goal is to align a team member’s natural talents and preferences with the company’s goals. What do they want? What motivates them? What do they like to do? Then manage them to reinforce what they want and how they can achieve those things through their work. — Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

2. Inspect what you expect

While not a call to micromanage, it’s a reminder that tracking progress is crucial to your success. There’s a fine line there. You don’t want to be a pain, but at the same time you don’t want to sit back only to find out too late something’s gone wrong. Develop a system that works for you and your team that allows you to keep a pulse on development while not impeding it. — Nicolas Gremion,

3. Leadership isn’t a popularity contest

I spent several years as a member of the Young Professionals Organization (YPO). The best piece of management advice I learned during that experience is that leadership is not a popularity experience. It hit me like a brick, since I care deeply what others think about me and generally I want people to like me. But what’s more important is making decisions that aren’t always popular. — Kristopher Jones,

4. Under-promise and over-deliver

It’s easy to get ahead of yourself during the sales process and set unattainable expectations. By keeping yourself in check, you’ll be able to impress clients with completed work without having impossible expectations hanging over your head every step of the way, which will likely result in a conflict with the client at the end of the project. — Russell Kommer, eSoftware Associates Inc.

5. Details matter

As you grow your business, many times you don’t want to deal with some of the mundane details you did when you started. But paying attention to the details is often what drives your success. That doesn’t mean you need to do everything. It means you need to build processes and systems to make sure the details are handled correctly as you grow the team. — JT Allen, myFootpath LLC

6. Put people first

It is vital to make sure that your team is truly happy and feels fulfilled or they simply won’t have the energy or dedication needed to provide clients with an amazing service. And although I agree it is important to prioritize the client, I firmly believe that the team is equally important. Only a happy team will be able to offer incredible service. — David Tomas, Cyberclick

7. Document your procedures and processes

At my businesses, each team member is responsible for documenting and maintaining their procedures and processes. These aren’t static documents, but living manuals that help us continually look for improvements in the way we do business. It’s also how we measure success, which is important in any business. You can’t measure what you don’t know. — Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

8. Never forget praise

As a time-starved entrepreneur, it’s pretty tempting to only use your precious seconds to address your team when everything’s going south. However, your employees are never going to improve if they don’t know when they’re going in the right direction. That’s not to mention that a tiny bit of praise goes a long way for developing confidence and fostering happiness. — Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

9. Think about every decision you make going public

I try to hold everything I say and do as a manager accountable to the “How would you feel if this was published on the first page of the New York Times?” question. As a manager, you should never say or do anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable being made public. Hold yourself to a high standard of behavior, especially when you’re stuck choosing between the easy and the right thing to do. — Roger Lee, Captain401

10. Don’t assume people are mind readers

I’ve come across any number of clients, co-workers, and managers who think what’s obvious to them is obvious to everyone. Assuming people know what you’re thinking is an impediment to clear communication. This is a particular problem in tech circles, when experts forget that not everyone has their expertise. It often pays to double check that you’ve really been understood. — Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

11. Always go where the money is

Why do robbers rob banks? Because that’s where the money is. Always go after customers who have money. It will simplify your business by reducing the number of transactions, your overhead and increasing your margins. Selling to customers who have money verses those who don’t multiplies your efforts and significantly reduces the minutia of dealing with smaller transactions. — Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors, LLC