Small business owners are wise to be jacks of all trades. It's helpful to have a base knowledge of accounting, law, and marketing, even if their true passions lie elsewhere. And until they reach a certain breaking point, a single-person business is a smart way to keep down overhead and reap all the (eventual) profit. But what happens when entrepreneurs are working twenty-hour days and need twelve cups of coffee to stay alert enough to answer the phone? What they need is trustworthy employees and an excellent manager, so that they can focus on the stuff they were born to do.

The scary part is finding the right team. It's kind of like hiring a nanny to watch your young child for the first time. Are good references and a good interview enough to prove that your precious cargo will be in excellent care? A good manager will instill this trust almost immediately. Here are some tips on how to recognize a partner that will be with you for the long haul.

They don't flower you with empty and general phrases.

Job interviews, even though we might like to think so, are not representative of how an employee will behave at all times. Know that potential managerial candidates will be pulling out all of their tricks to get noticed. But it's up to a good employer to be able to parse conversation for disingenuous or negative words as well as body language. They could fulfill a number of generic "good" qualities like a high level of experience and creativity, but what will make them stand out is if they not only talk about their own accomplishments, but talk about how they want to help the company. They need to demonstrate familiarity with the history of your business and professional endeavors, and a specific interest in this sector (and you).

Empty phrases such as, "I was asked to do a number of leadership tasks at which I excelled" are yawn-worthy. A manager will not tell you how they will behave in this position, but will show you.

They also have to have a team-oriented spirit, rather than an individual one. According to Forbes's Jacob Morgan, the model is changing from a hierarchy to a level playing field: "In the past managers said 'jump' and the employees said, 'how high?' Now, the managers are jumping with employees." You will be able to recognize this ability in your potential manager if he or she mentions words like "we" and "team" instead of solely, "I." It's important that your manager is a leader, but also that he or she appreciates the importance of business development: that ultimately, your success is dependent on more than one person.

They share your ambitions and goals.

Your manager doesn't have to, and should not, be your clone. But he or she should share your business ethics and values, and see the same end goal. You want to find someone that will be on your side, though disagreement should not be seen as a negative. In fact, finding someone that will disagree with you on certain points can be a ripe opportunity to explore new avenues and test new strategies you couldn't have thought up on your own. We seek romantic partners that share our values but that are not the same as us. We should look at our business partners with these same criteria in mind.

If you are an employer that avoids confrontation, it will be a good idea to seek a manager that is direct and who efficiently (and peacefully) passes down concerns to employees. Know your weaknesses and seek out a person that will make up for them.

Sharing ambitions and goals for the company will allow you to confide in your manager freely, and perhaps even consider making him or her a business partner or successor to the business in due course.

They can relate to and inspire their team.

A manager is only as good as how much respect he or she has. That means, a manager cannot work in a vacuum. Having "people skills" is not enough for someone that will stick around for long. He or she has to connect to their team so that they feel always encouraged and motivated to perform. By employing concrete deliverables and making informed decisions, a manager can both increase the efficiency of his or her team and make meaningful relationships.

According to Aaron Schwartz of Modify Watches, "empathy" is one of the most important qualities when looking for an exceptional manager. He says, "Strong managers work well with their teams to set priorities, and then encourage their direct reports to go execute them...It's critical that a manager cares about her team—and that the team knows this—to keep everyone positive and working together." And we all know that a happy group of employees is one ingredient to a successful business.

Hiring a manager is a huge job, but the rewards will be fruitful. Knowing that you can trust someone to take care of the daily tasks while you map out the future of the business is an invaluable resource.

For more on how to get there, click here.

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I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.

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Quiet Quitting is the latest trend among Gen-Z TikTok that encourages setting boundaries at work

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Toni Morrison has an anecdote about her first ever job, which was cleaning some neighborhood woman’s house. The young Toni arrived home after work one day and expressed her troubles to her father. But he didn’t provide the sympathy she expected. Instead, he gave her something better — his advice:

“Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.”

Years later, she wrote about this remarkable experience for the New Yorker and said, in hindsight, this is what she learned:

1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself

2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you

3. Your real life is with us, your family

4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are

What Morrison so eloquently articulated was setting boundaries. I revisited this piece during the pandemic when working from home ramped up in earnest. Back when work was one of the few things that anchored my day.

Without a physical office, the pandemic shattered the work/life balance for many people. There was no more of that physical separation that Morrison talked about. There is no coming home from work physically. There is no real life to come back to — just a manufactured commute to your laptop in your makeshift home office.

But, par for the course, Gen Z are navigating this boundaryless era using TikTok. While internet gurus promote hustle culture and constant online availability since you’re not getting face time with your managers, there’s a trend in town — “quiet quitting.”


@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound - ruby


The trend arose from the depths of the pandemic. Layoffs, salary cuts, and furloughs proved that their employers did not care about their hard-working employees.

The Washington Post dubs quiet quitting as a fresh trem for an old phenomenon: employee disengagement. In many cases, it’s a response to burnout. For much of Gen Z, it’s a way of establishing healthy boundaries in the office and resisting the pressure of the rat race. After all, why work yourself to the bone for a company that just proved it’s ready and willing to let you go?

Despite the term’s negative connotations, Quiet Quitting can provide an empowering shift in thinking for employees.

For far too long, employees have been indoctrinated with a slew of toxic workplace advice. Faced with these old misconceptions and lacking job security or clear paths for advancement, Gen Z is untethering their identities from work.

Quiet quitting — therefore — might be a bit of a misnomer. These employers aren’t completely disengaged. They’re certainly not launching Flight Club-esque sabotage attempts on their employers. NO. Contrary to media panic, Gen Z understands the value of a job — the fickle market they entered ensured that. But they also understand the value of life.

They’re doing what they’re being paid for. Nothing more, nothing less.

According to Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders, older generations should learn from this approach.

“Gen Z has already endured the largest seismic shifts to the career landscape than any previous generation, having started their careers in the middle of a pandemic that changed office culture forever and a gig economy that makes piecing together work more viable. They’re taking both those realities and therefore demanding more autonomy and flexibility than any other generation.”

Gen Z are less attached to job titles and statuses. They’re more concerned about their lives. Sure, this can lead to problematic outlooks on money and experiences — see the “I can earn my money back” TikTok trend. But it’s better than hustling for no reward. Besides, as some Gen Z-ers put it on TikTok, the office isn’t even a vibe.

“With the ability to work from anywhere and for more than just one place, Gen Z-ers are forging their own paths that don’t rely on old patterns set by previous generations and are redefining what “career success” looks like. Gen Z can take note, as more and more leaders are similarly pursuing multiple income streams of their own through the form of a portfolio career. The way in which work looks like and where it happens is evolving.”

With less single-minded focus on one job, some TikTok business gurus advocate shutting your laptops precisely at 5 pm. And then jump onto your side hustle. Do nails or lashes on the weekend. Become social media managers for your phone. Sell soap on Etsy (again … perhaps not in the Fight Club way).

But this valorization of side hustles is not about hustle culture, either. They say job security isn’t guaranteed. Learning new skills and develop an alternate income stream/s to keep you afloat. Just make sure you’re not left in the lurch. BTW inflation is here. So every little bit helps.

But where do you start? Watching TikToks can only get you so far. Try a course on LinkedIn Learning to sharpen up your skills and learn new ones that you can turn into a verifiable side hustle — or leverage in your job search if quiet quitting leads to … real quitting.

Learn on your own time with bite-sized videos or in-depth courses. Watch them after work, before you clock in, or on your lunch break. Then, after your courses are complete, you’ll have certificates prominently displayed on your profile that prove your skills.