I noticed that among the ten ideas for job hunting in my last post, the idea people talked about the most was using LinkedIn. This doesn’t surprise me. The promise of LinkedIn is to make your network work for you, and that’s enticing.

But the process of building a network on LinkedIn has always felt very nuanced to me. For example, I can never decide when it’s time to send someone an invitation. I feel nervous about it like I am asking someone on a second date — Did the first date go well enough? Do we want to hang out more?

So when LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke offered to do an interview with me, I jumped at the chance because I want to be better at using LinkedIn myself.

Here’s the interview:

Q: How many connections do I need to make LinkedIn really work for me?

A: Thirty connections is usually enough. But the quality of connections is important — How well the person knows your work so they can make a strong introduction for you.

Q: What makes a connection high quality?

A: Ask yourself what value they can add in an introduction. Your network can include people you work for, people who are working for you, and with you. For example if you’re in sales a customer can make an introduction for you.

Quality is also someone with a lot of connections, but you have to look to see if it’s a superconnected person or someone who is ardent about building up their connections on LinkedIn.”

Q: Why does someone with 500 good connections need to use LinkedIn?

A: If someone asks this person “Do you know someone at Coke,” then the work is on the broker [to figure out who in his network would be appropriate]. Or he can say, “Link to me on LinkedIn.”

Q: What are some ways to use LinkedIn to get a job?

A: Sometimes the hiring manager you are looking for is three degrees away from you, but the company is two degrees. Also, use LinkedIn to prepare for an interview. Often people have their interests listed. Then you can talk about interests or people you might have in common.

Q: Any other tips for using LinkedIn?

A: Once you have the offer, ask people who used to work at the company but no longer work there — they are free to talk. Also, do due diligence on your future boss by finding someone who use to work for the boss; you can type in the company and title and you might find someone who had the job in the past.

Q: How do I get over the fear of my invitation being rebuffed?

A: Over half the time people say yes.

This should have been my cue to say, “So do you want to connect with me via LinkedIn?” It would have been great. I could have spent all night clicking through his 500+ contacts carefully forming a long term strategy to tactfully leverage this treasure. But alas, I did not ask. Not even the Brazen Careerist can be brazen all the time.

Here are ten ways to find a job. Some will help when you’re just starting, some will help you when you’re stuck, and some will help you many times over.

1. Hire a cold caller.
Cold calling to get a job really works–if you’re good at it. Your ability to sell yourself on the phone shows exceptional sales skills, self-confidence, drive, and commitment. But most cold calls are executed poorly.

Debra Feldman is a professional cold caller at Job Whiz; you hire her to get you a job, and she can do it. By cold calling CEOs. What’s the catch? She costs thousands of dollars. So consider teaching yourself the skill well enough to talk your way into a job where you can afford Feldman.

2. Use proactive recommendations.
Instead of waiting for a hiring manager to ask for references, have your reference call immediately. This works well if you have a heavy-weight reference, like a well-known CEO or someone who knows the hiring manager. But it also works well if you have little professional experience.

“The good employers have relationships with professors and they forward students who seem exceptional,” says Joel Spolsky, chief executive of Fog Creek Software and author of the blog Joel on Software.

Also tap your coaches. They tend to know students well after meeting daily for practice over the course of a few years. “A coach has extended knowledge of the students’ personalities,” says Tom Carmean, head lacrosse coach at Amherst University, who has given many references to employers.

3. Stay organized with job hunt software.
How many times have you put the wrong name on a cover letter? Forgotten where you applied? Forgotten what the job was? You need to be organized right off the bat — maintain an Excel spreadsheet with all your contacts.

For a serious job hunter who recognizes that a hunt never ends, you could try JibberJobber, which not only helps you organize your information, but can bug you about the things you should be doing but might not be, such as following-up with a phone call.

4. Turn a non-job into a job.
Many companies use temp agencies as recruiting firms. Instead of going through the interview process, companies sift through temp workers until they find one they like. So when you find yourself temping at a company you like, give a star performance; even if the work doesn’t require much skill, personality matters a lot in this sort of situation, so be fun and charming. And don’t be shy about asking for full-time work.

Note that this tactic will work for an internship as well. Matt Himler, a student at Amherst College, started out looking for an internship, and shifted his focus when he saw an actual job was a possibility. He now gets paid to blog for AOL Money & Finance.

5. Use social networking sites.
Some, like LinkedIn, are full of professionals who understand that a good job hunt is not an event but a way of life. Most of these people are good networkers and emphatic about making sure they are in a job they love; definitely the types you should be hanging out with, so sign up and create your own profile.

“Ninety percent of jobs posted at LinkedIn are associated with a profile,” says Konstantin Guericke, co-founder of LinkedIn. So you can find a job you want, then find a way to connect with the hiring manager through people you know, and you’ll have a leg up on the competition because — as if you haven’t heard this a thousand times — most people get their job by networking.

6. Date someone with a network.
Ubiquitous job hunting question: What if I don’t have a good network? Match with someone who does and use theirs. Kay Luo works in corporate communications and has an extensive network that she just forked over to her boyfriend, a software engineer. His LinkedIn network: seven people, including Luo. Her network: More than 100.

7. Use U.S. mail.
You’re probably not going to get past the automated resume scanner at a big corporation. Even qualified candidates don’t get through. So don’t even think about getting through if you’re not a perfect match.

Instead, circumvent the system with snail mail. That’s right. Go to Kinko’s and buy some of that bonded resume paper that you always wondered who was using. Find the name of the hiring manager and send the letter directly to her. Chances are she receives 200 emails a day and one or two pieces of physical mail a day. So at least you know she’ll see what you sent.

Chris Russell, who blogs at Secrets of the Job Hunt, says this tactic also works well at a small company where you can target the CEO.

8. Write a blog.
Don’t tell yourself that blogs are for kids. They’re not. They’re for professionals to get noticed.

Himler, the Amherst student and AOL blogger, points out that blogging is very time-consuming, even for a college student. “College students are really into MySpace and Facebook. Blogging hasn’t taken off. But in five years my friends will go into a profession and they will want to get their name out there, and the best way to do that is with a blog.”

Himler fits in blogging with his full-time job of being a student and a lacrosse player, so consider that you might be able to tackle a blog as well.

9. Comment on blogs.
Realistically, most people don’t have the time or mental energy to maintain a blog. But you can target people you would like to work for and start commenting on their blog. Bloggers notice the people who regularly send great comments. This is a way to enter into a conversation with someone you want to notice you.

This is a good tactic for not just hiring managers but also a person in your industry who is well-connected and could help you if he knew you.

Michael Keleman, who blogs at Recruiting Animal, says that recruiters who blog regularly turn their commenters into job candidates.

10. Be nice.
People who are perceived as nice get hired more frequently,” says Robin Koval, co-author of The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness.

But you probably already think you’re nice. Most people do. If you get jobs easily, then chances are you probably are nice. Or so talented you can get away with being only moderately nice. But if your job hunting is strained, check out this test to see how nice you really are.

The good news is that just taking the test could make you a little closer to getting that dream job; Harvard professor Tiziana Casciaro reports that just caring more about being nice will make you a little nicer.

1. MBAs are the biggest cheaters.
More than half of MBA students said they cheated in the last year, according to a survey by the Academy of Management Learning and Education. I started to blog about how people need to change admissions procedures which not only favor cheats but also candidates who hire admissions consultants.

But then I read that almost 50% of all graduate students cheat. Not sure what to make of this except that the same problem that makes grad students cheat — no ability to separate themselves from their grades — is the thing that makes businesspeople cheat — so wrapped up in their work that they are willing to sacrifice their morality.

So what should you do? Get a life outside of work, outside of school. That way when things go bad, you can remember that you have a life that is separate from what is going bad and you won’t feel compelled to cheat to fix it.

2. Ethical leadership means getting enough sleep.
I have written before about the importance of getting enough sleep. But Charles Czeisler takes the sleep discussion to a new level in this month’s Harvard Business Review (subscription):

“We now know that 24 hours without sleep for a week or sleeping four or five hours a night induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .1%. We would never say, ‘This person is a great worker! He’s drunk all the time!’ yet we continue to celebrate people who sacrifice sleep for work.”

He says this sort of behavior puts employees and companies at risk and companies should create strict guidelines for acceptable sleep behavior that function similarly to substance abuse guidelines.

What should you do? Face the fact that for most of us, lack of sleep is due to lack of prioritizing, and get better at time management.

3. Cosmo isn’t the only place for fun quizzes
If you want a quiz about your sex life (or lack thereof) check out Cosmo. But for issues that are (hopefully) more career related, check out the philosophical health quiz. Why do you need to be a solid philosopher to have a solid career? Because knowing yourself is an integral part of figuring out what you want to do. And if your world view is bungled, then your view of yourself is probably bungled as well.

What should you do? Take the test.

My mother always told me, “Dress for the job above yours. No one will give you a promotion until they can imagine you in the higher position.” So when I worked at 31 Flavors in high school, I didn’t wear a baseball cap like the other scoopers. I wore a crinkly, white paper hat, with brown and pink polka-dots, because that’s what the manager wore.

For a while, what I should wear was clear. In college, when I wanted to be David Kramer’s girlfriend, I wore soft blue sweaters like his fiancé. At my first real job, I was “the Internet person” at a Fortune 500 company where everyone wore suits and I wore jeans because that’s what the guy who ran Netscape wore.

At some point, though, I got stuck. At some point between middle management and top management, I couldn’t find anyone to dress like. I rarely made deals with women and I rarely encountered a woman as I bounced between investors. When I did encounter a woman at my level, she wore a suit, or a least a jacket, which would not be appropriate at my own scrappy startup.

I wanted to wear clothes that would make me feel appropriate in a crowd of 20-year-old programmers and a crowd of 50-year-old venture capitalists. I noticed that khakis and a blue shirt do the job for men: The hip black shoes fit in with the programmers and the expensiveness of the shirt fits with the over-fifties. But khakis and a blue shirt on a woman screams, No style and probably boring — especially if she wears it as many days in a row as the men do. It’s a double-standard, but it persists, and probably-boring is not a trait people want in a leader.

So I hired a stylist. I hired one who dresses sets for sitcoms. But if someone’s sick she dresses the people. I tried to focus on the people instead of the props and that made me trust her. Her name was Allison. She looked at me as her big break into the high tech industry.

She took me to Nieman-Marcus and told me next time to dress nicer so we get better service. I tucked my T-shirt into my jeans. “Forget it,” she said. She said shoes are most important and my eight pairs of black loafers are not stylish. “Glamour is in,” she said, and she picked out shoes I would never choose.

I thought about the time the dentist told me about his business plan and when he took his fingers out of my mouth I told him ten companies already did that, and he didn’t believe me, and I thought he was a fool for not trusting an expert. So I tried to trust Allison.

The shoe salesman knew Allison was special. She knew the shoes he had in back. She knew the colors designers favored and said, “Don’t bother with brown from Chanel.”

I tried on Fantini heels and teetered. Allison said, “You look beautiful. Can you walk?”

I said no.

She said try.

I teetered.

She said, “You walk fine.”

I said, “There can’t be a hint of teeter because people already subconsciously think women aren’t sturdy enough to run a company.”

Allison sifted though shoes for lower heels.

The shoe salesman said, “But you don’t want the men to think you’re a prude.”

I looked at him. I looked for signs that he was scum. I don’t know what I was looking for. I was looking for a reason to scream at him. But he looked so young and innocent. Maybe this was his ice cream scooping job. I said, “Would you say that to a man who was buying shoes for work?”

He said, “A man would never buy heels.”

Allison looked up at me and gave me a sort of it’s-not-worth-it look.

But I persisted until he said, “You’re right,” in a way that meant, please buy shoes from me. He said, “I’m really sorry for offending you,” which meant, women are so volatile, I wish I were in the tie department.

I said, “Thank you,” which really meant, I am so gracious and you are ignorant and you will marry a woman with no self-esteem so that you do not have to notice your own shortcomings.

Allison hustled me through each department. She taught me rules of thumb: DKNY and Tahari are casual but sophisticated and that’s the look that lies between dinky startup and Fortune 500. I told the Mac makeup artist that I am a high-tech executive and I need to look a little older than I am. He told me to buy bright red lipstick and black-rimmed glasses. “Even if you can see,” he said. Allison concurred.

I unveiled my new look slowly at work. Lipstick one week. Glasses the next. Shoes on days I’d be sitting. I noticed as my wardrobe changed, the women who reported to me changed their wardrobes. Like my mom called them up or something. I tried not to think that Allison and I were making my office look like a sitcom.

Soon I started taking my appearance more seriously. And I ditched the glasses because I didn’t want any woman reporting to me to think she needed glasses even though she could already see.

Before we get to my list of ways to decrease stress, I want to debunk some myths.

First of all, stress at the workplace does not always cause unhappiness. Your workplace happiness hinges more on whether or not you like your work than on whether or not your work is stressful, according to Alan Krueger, professor at Princeton University.

That said, declaring that you thrive under stress is a delusional justification for procrastination. Sure, there are people who can’t figure out how to deliver on anything until the last minute. But this is a crisis in confidence (fear of starting for fear of failing) as opposed to stunning brilliance unlocked by stress.

And let’s get something straight about bringing pets to work. Employees love a dog at the office, but there is not evidence that dogs at work decrease stress. There is only evidence that they make people work longer hours at the office. So maybe life would get less stressful for dog lovers if you leave the pets at home, work fewer hours and get a social life.

Here’s why decreasing stress matters to me: People who are less stressed exude more confidence than people who are more stressed. I do everything in my life better when I am feeling more self-confident, and I bet you do, too. So, in an effort to buoy self-confidence, here’s a list of things that will decrease stress at work:

1. Do yoga. In the bathroom.
Of course, doing yoga anywhere is a good idea. But during the workday, tension builds up every hour, and you can’t do real yoga in your cube without calling attention to yourself for being eccentric. So go in the bathroom and do some downward dogs. A few in the middle of the day can relax your body clear your mind and keep productivity and creativity at higher levels. (Hands on the bathroom floor? I’ve been doing it for years and haven’t gotten any diseases. That’s what the soap is for.)

2. Make a friend.
If you have a friend you can depend on at work, you will have less stress and more happiness on the job. If you have trouble making friends, researchers say you should put a plant and some candy on your desk.

Please, I do not want to see one single person commenting on how “young people today text message so much and don’t know how to have relationships.” It’s the baby boomers who have spawned a whole industry about how to make friends, how to control your ego, how to make conversation. Generation Y is already great at doing stuff like that .

3. Fill your downtime carefully.
Running errands during lunch increases stress because you worry about getting back to work in time, according to Dorothy James, professor at Texas A&M University. And if you work at home, beware: People who spend their unscheduled time slots doing housework have greater number of health problems than those who pass the time socializing or exercising, according to the Journal of Occupational Health (in an article I can’t find, but was cited in Self magazine.)

4. Fix your ergonomics.
If your body is a pretzel at a computer your mind starts pretzeling as well, to cope with the physical pain. So, wouldn’t you know it, Google has its own, in-house ergonomics expert to make sure people take care of this stress. If you don’t have a personal ergonomics guru, an easy thing to do is to make sure you use a mouse instead of a touchpad whenever you can. A more difficult thing is to learn to use one of these keyboards that manage to look like they will break your wrists while promising to preserve them.

5. Monitor yourself.
Like everything you might want to change about your life, the more closely you monitor it, the more you’re likely to make the change. So you can gauge how stressed you are by taking this test.

To be honest, though, I didn’t take it myself. Most of the problem behaviors — like “do you set unrealistic deadlines for yourself?” and “do you find yourself overeating?” — were actually integral to my getting this post written.

It’s a lot easier to give advice than to implement it. You can imagine how acutely aware of this I must be.

After I’ve given out the same piece of advice twenty times (for example, get a mentor), there comes a point when I can’t face myself if I don’t follow it. Sometimes I try to scare myself. I tell myself that my career will go nowhere and I am wasting my time and I will never get what I want without self-discipline. What I really want from that lecture-to-self, though, is courage to do what is difficult.

Part of having career success is finding the courage to implement what you know you should do. Here are three things I’ve come across recently that inspire courage:

1. Courage to start a new business
I have a friend who is studying artificial intelligence at a big university. He tells me that most of the graduate students are ostensibly working on the PhD’s, but they’re really waiting to find some cool company to go work for. I don’t think this is unique to the artificial intelligence geniuses. I think many, many people are waiting for a good idea.

But you can’t always tell it’s a great idea until you try it. When I asked Guy Kawasaki how you know to move forward with a business, he said, “Launch it.” Then he paused and said, “Don’t worry, be crappy.”

So really, you need to just get out and try the business. That’s hard, though. Instigator Blog inspires courage to start by listing five reasons why you should go ahead and say yes to a new business even if you fear it might fail:

You'll learn something. Even if the idea doesn't fly, you'll learn something valuable.

You'll get a rush of adrenaline when you jump in.

You'll realize the value of an idea.

You'll get a chance to connect with people.

You'll be inspired.

(Thanks, Emily)

2. Courage to make networking strategic and deliberate
Of course, networking is good, and you should do it. But it’s hard. And probably the hardest part is fearing that the person will not be receptive to your networking efforts.

But you still need to be strategic, even in the face of rejection. Ben Casnocha, who surely must be the recipient of hundreds of networking overtures, writes that someone recently tried a nifty networking move on him that he liked: “After we met he studied my blog and reached out to a couple of my friends. After they heard I met with him, they too took a meeting. After they met with the guy they emailed me and we shared our mutual impressions (positive!). Great strategy. The more entry points you have in a relationship with someone the stronger it is.”

This is good advice from Ben, but what really stands out to me is that Ben seems to truly appreciate having the chance to meet this guy. This should give you courage to make overtures of your own.

3. Courage to take control of your own time
All sorts of polls show that time away from the office is a top priority for Generations X and Y. But not everyone does a great job at drawing the boundaries that preserve a home life. In general, it’s hard to draw boundaries because it always seems that what we are involved in is so much more important that violating the boundaries this time is okay.

But Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook shows us that courage to protect his personal life knows no limits. The Wall St. Journal reports: “During one series of talks with Microsoft, Facebook executives told their Microsoft peers they couldn’t do an 8 a.m. conference call because the company’s 22-year-old founder and chief executive, Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, wouldn’t be awake, says a person familiar with the talks. Microsoft executives were incredulous.”

Newsweek ran a piece titled Leading the Way to focus on women who will, supposedly, lead in the 21st century. The list includes a bunch of women who either didn’t adjust their careers for kids or have jobs that are incompatible with family. Here are some examples:

Sarah Chang: “I travel all year long. And every week is a new city.”
Renee Reijo Pera: “At 47, I am going to become a mother soon.”
Marissa Mayer: “Google is a very comfortable environment for me because…a great late-night conversation really inspires me.”

The women of Newsweek are not the heroes of my generation. On the whole, my generation is not interested in this sort of achievement. Not even the men.

Wharton just published a study titled, Plateauing, Redefining Success at Work. The study finds that “rather than subscribing to the onward and upward motto, men and women in middle management are more interested in plateauing, unhooking from the pressure to follow and uphill path that someone else has set. (Thanks, Wendy)

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland published a study that found that senior executives have a lower quality of life than the terminally ill. (via Slow Leadership)

These women in Newsweek have given up everything for their careers. This is not what my generation views as success. This is what baby boomers view as success.

Newsweek does not reference to the fact that Gen Xers typically put family before career, and there is no acknowledgment that fertility takes a nose-dive at age 35. In fact, this article about women who have careers that leave no room for families is paired with photos of women with twins and triplets: As if IVF works all the time. Which it doesn’t.

Everyone worries about the media using women who are too thin as role models. I worry about the media using women who give up everything for their job as role models. Both are outdated and serve to limit women in senseless ways.

I am always on the lookout for couples who have interesting arrangements in regard to how they support each other in their family life and work life. Today I am struck by Jenn Satterwhite and her husband Clint.

Jenn’s blog, Mommy Needs Coffee, has a large community. Jenn also contributes at Blogher, (and she is one of the most honest people I know when it comes to writing about addiction).

Recently she has been in and out of the emergency room and is close to having a nervous breakdown, apparently from stress.

So for a while, her husband was updating her blog. The posts were so sweet. And well written. And I am struck by how natural it seems to be for him to step in and pick up where Jenn leaves off. This is how I’d like my marriage to be. Though alas, a blog is much less complicated than a life.

What do you do with your ideas? How do you get them traction? It used to be you made a sales pitch – to venture capitalists, to customers, to your boss.

But today young people are deconstructing the sales pitch – paring it down to its core information and parodying the BS that surrounds it.

The nail in the coffin of spin might have been last Tuesday, when Google purchased You Tube, and the twentysomething founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, made a home video to announce one of the most significant corporate acquisitions of the year to consumers.

The video starts out with the two of them talking about the benefits to the consumer – lines that may or may not have been scripted and sound a lot like spin. But then Hurley says of YouTube and Google, “Two kings have gotten together.” He appears to realize he has lost himself in generic salespeak, and he laughs.

Then someone says, “Just keep going.”

So he does. He makes a Burger King joke.

Among young people, there is a general dislike for the classic idea of sales. “Our company is not a sales-based organization,” says Siamak Taghaddos of GotVMail, a virtual phone service for small business. “Not in
the typical sense. We educate people. I’m a firm believer in letting someone make their own decision.”

Sales spin only works if you have a monopoly on the real information. In an era where information rules and everyone can get it whenever they want, there are scant opportunities to credibly slant the truth. Instead, you
just have to put it out there and hope it works.

Spin doctors on sales teams are out, and authentic communication is in. This is why many companies do not have a sales button on their web site, but they do have a blog. The blog is a way of getting out information in an authentic, efficient way, which is the best path to acceptance.

The power of authenticity for the new generation cannot be overstated. Guy Kawasaki, former Apple Computer evangelist and founder of Garage Technology Ventures, is a notable voice of authenticity on his blog, Signal Without Noise.

Most people with Kawasaki’s experience rely on their authority — the power of their reputation — to push through their ideas. Kawasaki, however, is not afraid to rely on authenticity — a dedication to providing genuine and useful information that has value to his audience.

As a blogger he initiates conversations with his readers rather than issue one-way declarations. His daily posts reflect an understanding that his resume is not as important as the power of the information he provides right now. The tacit agreement is paying off: in the pool of millions of blogs, his is one of the 50 most popular.

So what do you do to both act on your idea, and then be able to convey it effectively, with authenticity? Here are six things to consider.

1. Jettison the stupid stuff.
“Ninety percent of selling an idea is having a good idea,” says Kawasaki. “People think that the difficulty is marketing and sales. But if you have a good idea then you can really screw up in marketing and sales” and still succeed. So stop focusing on how you are going to pitch, and come up with the ideas that pitch themselves by
virtue of their genius.

2. Become the anti-salesman and slip under the radar.
One of the common complaints young people have about working in big companies is that no one listens to their ideas. Outside a company, entrepreneurs have a good idea and move on it. But inside a company there are customs and guidelines for starting new products. Kawasaki says, “Being an entrepreneur and an ‘intrapraneur’ are more similar than different. The key for an intrapraneur is not trying to get permission.” He concedes that you
will have to step on peoples’ toes, but you should do it only after you have a version of the product ready to go.

3. Start a conversation instead of a canned speech.
People are looking for information and have little tolerance for fluff. So if you want someone to believe in what you’re doing, be a good on your feet. “It comes down to being able to handle questions quickly and well,” says
Brian Wiegand, CEO of Jellyfish, a shopping search engine.

Because the Internet turns the idea of authority on it’s head, people want to contribute to a good idea instead of being handed a good idea. So when you want your idea to have traction, “let people add their ideas to your
own so they like the idea more,” says Wiegand.

4. Find people who need you.
Kim Ricketts creates book events at corporations. Like most good ideas, bringing authors to companies fills a need – in this case to give employees the chance to hear new thinkers. Ricketts also fills a void for publishers, who are looking for new ways to sell books. Her events are a great example of how good ideas gain traction quickly, with little or no marketing, because they answer a customer’s problem.

5. Focus on the information.
Often, an in-person sales pitch to a young person is like an IM message blinking on-screen to a baby boomer: Unwanted interruption of information processing.

If you’ve been selling for decades, tone it down, because you sound desperate to a new generation, and also a little dishonest. If you really have a good product, the facts will speak for themselves.

And pay heed to people such as David Hauser, CTO of GotVMail: “I don’t want to be told what to buy. I can research online myself and make the decision on my own.”

6. Be your true self.
Taghaddos says you should worry as much about yourself as your product. “Be authentic: Lay a foundation for a company and yourself. If you are how you want people to perceive you, then people will like you and they’ll buy your product. They’ll do it without any pressure.”

On my last post, where the comments are especially good, Diana wrote that delegating has always been hard for her and she asked how a manager can overcome the following problem: “If the people I was managing didn’t know what I was doing that was more important than what I was delegating for them to do, they would get fussy and say (amongst each other) that I was a bad manager because I never did anything myself, I just pawned things off on them.”

This is a great opening to talk about one of the most misunderstood parts of delegating: You should delegate your most important work and keep the crappiest work for yourself. This way the people you delegate to will love what they are doing, and they will appreciate how much trust you have in them. You should do the crappy work yourself because it is so hard to lead people effectively if you are giving them crap to do.

If you are worried that they won’t do a good job on the important stuff, then coach them. Management does not mean getting the crap work off your plate to make time for important work. It means doing the crap work and doing a lot of coaching, and, if you’re really good, making time to take on projects to expand your own skills.

As a manager you always have to think about things from your team’s perspective. Three things to remember:

1. The people you supervise will think you “do nothing” if you do none of the crap work.

2. “Important work” means that it helps someone meet their own goals. So you should delegate to people not based on what is important to you, but what is important to them.

3. The number-one factor in job happiness for young people is training. If they think they’re learning a lot on the job, they’ll like the job. You need to constantly coach these employees and teach them new skills and ideas. If you don’t, you won’t be able to lead them.

So forget delegating the unimportant stuff. Just do it yourself. But ask yourself, if it’s so unimportant, why is anyone doing it?