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Listen And Learn: Become A Better Manager By Learning From Others’ Mistakes

When it comes to principles of management, I’ve learned more, and more quickly, when I observed and listened to others who have dealt with what I am facing.

I’ve gleaned my management insights from books, occasional seminars, random airplane seat partners and a hodgepodge of other sources, but almost always the onus is on me to get the help I need. The books don’t read themselves to me, the seminars don’t pull me in, and the airplane seat buddies … well, you know how that can be.

All this takes time but the results you get are worth it. And with that in mind I have one more source for you to consider.

Business Wisdom: Words to Manage By ( is a “gathering point” where managers and soon-to-be-managers can go to share ideas and experiences regarding problems common to us all. Each post begins with a quote followed by a brief comment and finally a growing number of observations from visitors to the site.

And therein is the value.

There is almost no problem or situation you will encounter that someone else has not already experienced, and hearing what they did can save you a lot of grief. For example, in response to a post about two employees who weren’t getting along, Lyle wrote:

“I once had a boss who brought two bickering employees together and told them they had to spend the next day together in a room. When they emerged he wanted two things: a resolution to their disagreement and a plan the entire company would follow to prevent the kind of problems these two were having. If they failed, he promised to fire both of them. But they delivered on both. Funny what you can do when you put your mind to it.”

Or consider this from another reader regarding leadership:

“My experience has been that the really smart entrepreneurs are those who understand what their shortcomings are and are not insecure about filling the gaps with outside talent (if the talent doesn’t already exist within the organization).”

Managers, including those in the CE/tech industries, often become insulated in their world. When that happens, walls of circular thinking begin to go up and it gets harder and harder to see new ways of doing things. Business Wisdom can help you break though those barriers. When you read what others have done you will quickly see that you are not alone. But more than that, you will learn what did and did not work for them when they were confronted by circumstances similar to yours.

Visit Business Wisdom and share your thoughts and opinions. Bookmark the site or, better still, subscribe to email alerts for new posts and comments. And of greatest importance, jump into the discussion, letting all who go there benefit from your experience, as you will likely do as well by reading what everyone has to say. It’s all there, all free.

The late management guru Peter Drucker once said: “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

He was right of course, but let’s start with the easy stuff and listen to what is.