#3. YOU HAVE NO RATS
Law enforcement uses confidential informants (CIs) to relay the word on the street because criminals don’t usually tell cops the entire story. Your employees aren’t criminals (you hope), but the tactic can still work. At the end of the day, you’re the boss — even if you try your hardest to be a friend. That means you’re never going to get the whole story. A trusted CI can help. Just use the info wisely. No need to inquire about what people think of your new tie; but getting the lowdown on issues that may otherwise go unnoticed can be priceless.
#4. YOU NEVER REWARD YOUR TEAM
If the ship is sinking and the crew knows it, giving coupons to the Jelly of the Month Club instead of raises is defensible. It’s when the numbers are in the black and your workers are busting their asses that they’re going to feel unappreciated if you don’t toss them a bone. If the budget can’t support across-the-board raises, subtle things like springing for coffee, bagels, lunch, or a happy hour every so often can give the rank and file an attaboy while buying time to figure out the raise situation or plan what to do if people start jumping overboard.