James Monroe


James Monroe is the author of “Don’t Be a Dick Manager: The Down & Dirty Guide to Management,” (and its workplace-friendly companion, “Don’t Be a Jerk Manager”). The book is based on his experience managing teams of creative people, technical people, and salespeople in the media, technology, and service industries for more than two decades.

He now works to help managers see their roles through new eyes and break old patterns that cost companies time, energy, and money.


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James Monroe


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Articles by James Monroe

We were warned.

For years, companies like Gallup cautioned that the vast majority of our employees were disengaged from their work. Researchers showed us that this lowered productivity and morale, and increased absenteeism and employee turnover. They said that large chunks of our workforce were considering changing jobs or careers.

October 22, 2021


It’s no secret the pandemic brought unprecedented upheaval to the American workforce.

Overnight, many of us had to learn to work from home or take significant precautions at work. Over the first few weeks, thousands lost jobs.

August 17, 2021



We’ve heard the slogans: “People are our most important asset.” “We want to be an employer of choice.”

And we know most companies fall far short of those aspirations, for lots of reasons.

May 6, 2021


As a manager, your job is pretty straightforward: make sure the people on your team do their work as well and as efficiently as possible.

April 6, 2021


Do you feel pressure to come up with new ideas?

Things change so quickly these days, it seems we need new ideas and fresh thinking just to survive. We need to understand how our customers are changing. Will they still need us a year from now? What should we do to our products, distribution, or marketing to adapt to these new trends? Are they even trends?

March 17, 2021


You know who they are. They are the rock-star sales managers, the gifted product leaders, the creative visionaries. Almost everything they do is wildly successful.

They believe—and the company agrees—that they have a golden gut: flawless instincts, essential relationships, or uncanny intuition, and the confidence to act.

February 19, 2021



February 1, 2021



We all know managers have a tremendous impact on the productivity and engagement of their teams. And we know that not everyone can manage people: Gallup says only 10 percent of people are natural managers and another 20 percent are coachable [1].

December 10, 2020



Why is becoming a manager so great? Because finally, after all those years of butt-kissing, pride swallowing, teeth clenching agony, it’s your turn on top. You’re the boss now. It’s time for people to kiss your butt and fear your wrath. What you say goes.

November 19, 2020



In Silicon Valley, people see failure as a necessary part of innovation. If you don’t fail, you’re not taking the risks that can lead to a breakthrough. You’re not risking enough little things to come up with the next big thing.

October 21, 2020


Every company has outstanding managers. These are the people who lead happy, productive teams, who easily motivate others and inspire innovation. They wear leadership like a comfortable sweater.

If you take a moment, you can probably name a few of these excellent managers in your organization.

And that’s the problem. There are only a few, and they are so rare, you can easily remember their names.

September 28, 2020