Fired Up or Burned Out

Fired Up or Burned out, by Michael Lee Stallard, is a book specifically targeted towards managers, talking about ways in which they specifically can help reenvigorate and enthuse their teams. This isn't about high-cost rewards programs, or about changing the corporate mission. Instead, it is focused right on what a manager can personally do to help his team stay energized.

You could say the things listed here are common sense - but I have a ton of management books and ALL of them hold common sense. That's the point - these things are things we should all know and be doing. Obviously we aren't, if we are reading books in order to do a better job. You never know what specific tip will be really meaningful for a given person. Something you think is obvious, someone else may find to be the most brilliant item in the book. Something else that you find fascinating, other people may yawn at. It's how these books work.

So, what common sense items do you find here? You should have the team learn from each other, to engage and build connections. These connections reduce stress and ease worry, which lead to happier, healthier team members. Overmanagement is a sign of disrespect for your employees - if you have happy, engaged employees who know what to do and honestly want to do it, they will get the job done.

Your group needs to be motivated by the mission, not by whips. They need to be united by values, not by fear. They need to be honestly proud of the reputation of their group. Respect is key. They should respect each other and their leader. It should be a real respect - the leader should have a character and actual "walking the walk" attitude that inspires it.

The star system tends to only focus on the few top performers. The rest of the people - who often are working just as hard if not harder - need to be recognized too. Find ways to realize the things they are doing and to let them know you appreciate them.

The book talks about how hardship builds character, and helps you learn to focus on what is actually within your control. Even the bad times can teach you something and help you bond.

The book provides many studies and examples to help drive these lessons home. Seniors who are stressed and lonely die much more quickly than seniors who have a team around them. Queen Elizabeth had an extremely tough job ahead of her when she took over a demoralized nation - and she was able to inspire them. Numerous other case studies help you learn techniques and to choose your personal inspiration, no matter what your race, sex or personality is.

Do most managers need this book? Just look at the Dilbert comics. Just about every human being can relate to the troubles of office life that are portrayed there. No manager is perfect. There are items in here that any manager could use to do better on. Sometimes, even if you know something, hearing it again can be very helpful. If you have drinks with your mentor, and they tell you to "relax more", you probably knew you should do that - but hearing it fresh can be that key you need to finally do something about it.

Well recommended. It's not going to solve all your problems, but like the lessons of hardship, you really can only control what is within your sphere of action. If you're a manager, that is primarily how you relate with your workers. If you can really do that WELL, you are on a healthy path. And it's a path that can always use tweaking.

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