Unwritten Rules of Management (Leadership)- “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.”

Recall from last time, years ago, a client passed along a copy of former Raytheon & Chairman William H. Swanson's "Unwritten Rules of Management" (with a play on words, and with all due respect to the author, could also read "Unwritten Rules of Leadership.") If interested in reviewing previous entries on this series, simply access the archive of the blog. Looking ahead, we'll be engaged in this series for a bit. 

I've kept a copy of "Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management" (Google it!) in my top desk drawer over the years and refer to it occasionally as the underlying principle's are enduring.

In the foreward, the author (Swanson) refers to this compendium as "a product of experiences over the better part of a lifetime, of people I have learned from, and things I have heard or read. To me, this is an anthology of common sense."

Over the next several blogs, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to dissect each of these "Unwritten Rules" strictly from my POV. As I said, for me, these virtues are enduring. More importantly, how about you? What are your personal beliefs around these Unwritten Rules?

Unwritten rule #3 "If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much" 

For me, my synthesis of this particular Unwritten Rule:

It should be noted here that I've not met many people in my life that enjoy criticism. I know that I don't and I have to constantly be vigilant on how I act/react to criticism as I can be a bit think skinned at times. Occasionally, I'm put in a position of justifying my actions or decisions. Sometimes I need to acknowledge errors that I've made.

On the other hand, I don't want to over react "in the moment." By that I mean, I don't want criticism in one area to cause me to avoid decisions that are related or unrelated. I treat each issue/challenge or muddle as independent and exclusive. Small issues or challenges can fester and develop into larger issues later. So nimbleness is good. Opportunities that present themselves today may disappear tomorrow.  

One caution: don't be irrational in your decision making. Instead, if you are not already, consider being deliberate. That is probably the reason you are in the position that you are in is because you make good decisions!

If you make a mistake, try hard not to repeat it. Or as my friend David Perkins likes to say: "It is alright to be wrong; just don't be wrong long."

In my career, I learn quicker from my many failures than I ever do from my successes.

In closing on this one, Swanson points out that the most criticized decisions eventually turned out to be best for himself and his company. Most probably because Swanson was willing to take a calculated risk. Be sure to ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if the decision all goes to hell. 

 

jsexton

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