Life Lessons From the 1900s That Are Still Relevant Today

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Be on time

“Punctuality is the soul of business,” according to a mid-19th century English proverb. Being on time took on greater importance as the world became more urban and industrialized, and as the workforce depended on mass transit and highways to get them to work on time.

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Don’t lose your temper in the workplace

If you’re a boss, losing your temper in front of those who work for you inhibits your supervisory capacity. The workplace is a professional space, and supervisors are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. Of course, if you’re not a supervisor, this advice also applies as it can create unpleasant relationships and work environment.

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Be decisive

Being decisive provides clarity for those working for the boss. It also instills faith in the person who is leading them. Indecisiveness is linked to not being productive. Being decisive is important not just in the workplace but in all aspects of life.

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Make rules flexible

Rules should be flexible because not everyone is cut from the same cloth. When the Boston Celtics dominated the National Basketball Association in the 1960s, Coach Red Auerbach had a set of rules for his players, except for star center Bill Russell. Auerbach allowed Russell to sit and drink tea during scrimmages, and he permitted him to skip practice. By the way, the Celtics won 11 NBA titles during the Russell era.

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Don’t hire friends

John Graham, a self-made millionaire from the 19th century, once said, “The easiest way in the world to make enemies is to hire friends.” Hiring friends changes the dynamic between you and your pal, possibly for good. It can also alienate others in the workplace who may perceive favoritism.