ADVANTAGES

Meet one on one. Informal confabs with the people who report to you, held at least biweekly, serve as excellent occasions to check on their progress as well as identify problems before they blister, and so can be a powerful motivational tool. Galbreath also recommends occasional (once or twice a year) skip-level meetings with individual employees two or more levels down. Besides making sure the boss is not isolated at the top, skip-level meetings are a morale booster. "People are very complimented that a boss two levels up wants to talk with them," says Galbreath. "They're often turned into retention interviews."

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