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Inside the Mind of a Good Manager

Chelsey Zhu  |  September 28, 2022

What managers should know about being a great boss, and what workers should know about managing up.


“The Great Resignation” was only coined a year ago, and yet any conversation about work culture today wouldn’t be possible without it. The movement has changed so much about how we think about our jobs, and it doesn’t look like it’s ending any time soon. A survey conducted earlier this year found that 40% of workers are thinking about leaving their jobs in the next three to six months. Right now, there are about two job openings for every person looking for a job, and many people are also leaving traditional jobs to start their own businesses. From January to July of this year, the Census Bureau reported 2.9 million new business applications.

Workers feel empowered to advocate for themselves and ask for what they deserve. But there’s another side to this equation — what managers should do to make their companies better. With employees ready to head out for better opportunities, it’s more important than ever that managers make their company the place that people want to be. But if you’re a manager, how do you recruit and retain talent? How do you run a department that produces great results, while still being kind, empathetic, and flexible with your employees? 

Jim Edwards joins us to answer all of those questions and more. He is the founding editor of Business Insider UK, the former editor-in-chief of Insider’s News division, and a supervisor with more than two decades of experience managing teams. He’s also the author of the new book, Say Thank You for Everything: The Secrets of Being a Great Manager — Strategies and Tactics That Get Results. 

Jim tells us about how an email he sent to a friend became the foundation of his book. That email contained 19 pieces of managerial advice that Jim had learned over the years, including the maxim that became the title: “Say thank you for everything.” Expressing gratitude often, no matter how small the occasion, is an easy way for managers to improve their work environment, says Jim.

Jean and Jim break down everything that we need to know about management: what separates an okay boss from a great one, the biggest mistake that first-time managers make, and how remote work has changed the game. Because so many of us work from home nowadays, Jim says that managers should check in on their employees more often and make time for face-to-face meetings. That might mean setting up virtual office hours so people can drop in, or scheduling individual Zoom calls every couple of weeks. 

And it’s not just up to managers to communicate. Workers also have to make an effort to tell their bosses what they’re doing and how they’re feeling — it’s a two-way street. 

“The stereotype of management is that it’s a top-down thing,” says Jim. “The bosses know everything that’s going on, they’re going to tell you what to do, and you have to do it. It starts at the top of the hill and rolls downwards towards you. The fact is — particularly in larger companies — managers cannot see what’s going on everywhere all the time.” 

That’s why it’s so important for workers to learn how to “manage up.” If you communicate clearly, solve problems proactively, and bring your accomplishments to your manager’s attention, then you’re much more likely to get that raise or promotion. And it won’t hurt your day-to-day if your boss likes you, too. 

In Mailbag, we talk about the practicalities of filing for divorce, and how to restructure your investing portfolio as you near retirement. And in Thrive, we break down all the costs you need to cover to get your first pet.

This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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The HerMoney podcast is supported by      Edelman
All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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