Home > Articles > Business & Management

Introduction to The Rules of Management

As a manager, you are responsible for looking after and getting the best out of a team. In this introduction to his book, Richard Templar introduces the rules of management so you can get on with the job of managing.
This chapter is from the book


Strange thing, management. It's something few of us set out in life to do, yet most of us find ourselves doing at some point.

Careers adviser: What would you like to do when you leave school?

16-year-old: I want to be a manager.

Did this happen to you? No, me neither. But here you are anyway.

As a manager you are expected to be a lot of things. A tower of strength, a leader and innovator, a magician (conjuring up pay raises, resources and extra staff at the drop of a hat), a kindly uncle/aunt, a shoulder to cry on, a dynamic motivator, a stern but fair judge, a diplomat, a politician, a financial wizard (no, this is quite different from being a magician), a protector, a savior and a saint.

You are responsible for a whole gang of people that you probably didn't pick, may not like, and might have nothing in common with and who perhaps won't like you much. You have to coax out of them a decent day's work. You are also responsible for their physical, emotional, and mental safety and care. You have to make sure they don't hurt themselves—or each other. You have to ensure they can carry out their jobs according to whatever rules your industry warrants. You have to know your rights, their rights, the company's rights, and the government's rights.

And on top of all this, you're expected to do your job as well.

Oh yes, and you have to remain cool and calm—you can't shout, throw things, or have favorites. This management business is a tall order....

You are responsible for looking after and getting the best out of a team. This team may behave at times like small children—and you can't smack them* (or possibly even fire them). At other times they will behave like petulant teenagers—sleeping in late, not showing up, refusing to do any real work if they do show up, quitting early—that sort of thing.

Like you, I've managed teams (in my case, up to 100 people at a time). People whose names I was expected to know and all their little foibles—ah, Heather can't work late on a Tuesday because her daughter has to be picked up from her play group. Trevor is color blind, so we can't use him at the trade show.

Mandy sulks if left to answer the phones at lunchtime and loses customers. Chris is great in a team but can't motivate herself to do anything solo. Ray drinks and shouldn't be allowed to drive anywhere.

As a manager, you are also expected to be a buffer zone between higher management and your staff. Nonsense may come down from on high but you have to a) sell it to your team, b) not groan loudly or laugh, and c) get your team to work with it even if it is nonsense.

You also have to justify the "no pay raises this year" mentality even if it has just completely demotivated your team. You will have to keep secret any knowledge you have of takeovers, mergers, acquisitions, secret deals, senior management buyouts and the like, despite the fact that rumors are flying and you are being constantly asked questions by your team.

You are responsible not only for people but also for budgets, discipline, communications, efficiency, legal matters, union matters, health and safety matters, personnel matters, pensions, sick pay, maternity leave, paternity leave, holidays, time off, time sheets, tight deadlines and leaving presents, industry standards, fire drills, first aid, fresh air, heating, plumbing, parking spaces, lighting, stationery, resources, and tea and coffee. And that's not to mention the small matter of customers.

And you will have to fight with other departments, other teams, clients, senior bosses, senior management, the board, shareholders and the accounts department. (Unless of course you are the manager of the accounts department.)

You are also expected to set standards. This means you are going to have to be an on-time, up-front, smartly dressed, hardworking, industrious, late-staying, early-rising, detached, responsible, caring, knowledgeable, above-reproach juggler. Tall order.

You also need to accept that as a manager you may be ridiculed—think The Office—and possibly even judged by your staff, shareholders and the public to be ineffective and even superfluous to the carrying out of the actual job in hand.*

And all you wanted to do was your job.... Luckily there are a few hints and tips that will have you sailing through it looking cool, gaining points, and coming up smelling of roses. These are The Rules of Management—the unwritten, unspoken, unacknowledged Rules. Keep them to yourself if you want to stay one step ahead of the game.

Management is an art and a science. There are textbooks of thousands of pages devoted to how to do it. There are countless training courses. (You've probably been on a few.) However, what no textbook contains and no training course includes are the various "unwritten" rules that make you a good, effective and decent manager—the Rules of Management. Whether you are responsible for only one or two people or thousands—it doesn't matter. The Rules are the same.

You won't find anything here you probably didn't already know. Or if you didn't know it, then you will read it and say, "But that's really obvious." Yes, it is all really obvious, if you think hard enough about it. But in the fast-paced, frantic, just-about- coping kind of life we lead, you may not have thought about it lately. And what isn't so obvious is whether you do it.

It's all very well saying "But I know that already." Yes, as a smart person you probably do, but ask yourself honestly for each rule: Do you put it into practice, carry it out, work with it as standard? Are you sure?

I've arranged these Rules for you into two sections:

  • Managing your team
  • Managing yourself

I think that should be fairly simple. The Rules aren't arranged in any particular order of importance—the first ones aren't more important than later ones or vice versa. Read them all and then start to put them into practice, adopting the ones that seem easiest to you first. A lot of them will flow together so that you can begin to carry them out simultaneously, unconsciously. Soon we'll have you looking cool and relaxed, confident, and assertive, in charge, in control, on top of things, and managing well. Not bad considering it wasn't too long ago you were shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, ear to the ground and back to the wall. Well done you.

Before we begin, it might be worth taking a moment or two to determine what exactly we all mean by "management." And that isn't as easy as it sounds. For my money we are all managers—parents, the self-employed, the entrepreneur, the employed, even the ones who inherited wealth. We all have to "manage." It might only be ourselves, but we still have to cope, to make the best use of the resources available, motivate, plan, process, facilitate, monitor, measure success, set standards, budget, execute, and work. It's just that some of us have to do all that with bigger teams. But the fundamental stuff doesn't change.

The Harvard Business School defines a manager as someone who "gets results through other people." The great management consultant Peter Drucker says a manager is someone who has the responsibility to plan, execute, and monitor; whereas the Australian Institute of Management definition of a manager is a person who "plans, leads, organizes, delegates, controls, evaluates, and budgets in order to achieve an outcome." I can go along with that.

It can get very wordy and complex:

  • A Manager is an employee who forms part of the organization's management team and is accountable for exercising delegated authority over human, financial, and material management to accomplish the objectives of the organization. Managers are responsible for managing human resources, communicating, practicing and promoting the corporate values, ethics and culture of the organization, and for leading and managing change within the organization. (The Leadership Network, California)

Fine, whatever. We are all managers in whatever form or shape we think, and we all have to get on with the job of managing. Anything that makes our life simpler is a bonus. Here are the simple Rules of Management. They aren't devious or underhand. Actually they are all pretty obvious. But if you think about each carefully and implement each without fail, you'll be amazed what a difference it will make to your work and your life.

You may know everything in this book, but do you do it? This book will help motivate you into doing what you already know.

Let's get on with it....

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020