There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of Management Development courses, and probably twice as many books on the subject. So to save you some time, I want to outline Five Steps to Better Management. Here they are:

Every meeting (EVERY meeting!) needs an agenda. In formal meetings, make sure they’re written. In informal meetings, be clear about the objectives of why you’re talking to someone else. You’ll save time this way and accomplish more.

Set clear expectations and timelines for tasks or projects, including “check-in points.” Make sure you keep to the check-in points. Nobody ““ not you, not your boss and not your subordinates ““ likes surprises.

Ask yourself if the urgent task at hand is really an emergency. If you don’t need a fast turnaround on something, make that clear. That way, when you do “need something yesterday,” you can ask for it and your team will want to do it for you.

Credit your people to your boss. Enough said.

Stop, look and listen ““ get out of your office and talk to people, and by this I mean more than the cursory hello. If your people don’t think you care, why should they?

There, I saved you from going to some courses and from reading some books. Of course, the truth is that there’s a lot to learn about being a good manager. But, follow these five principles and you’ll be that much further along.