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Soundview Executive Book SummariesDistilled Knowledge For Better Management
Dr. Stephen Robbins has been teaching and writing about management for 30 years, and has become the world's best-selling textbook author in the fields of management and organizational behavior. In The Truth About Managing People, he has distilled his vast stores of knowledge about management into 63 "truths" that can lead managers and leaders to better organizations.
By challenging widely held beliefs and debunking many popular management myths, Robbins provides a clear view of management skills using timely research and the experiences of dozens of others to support his ideas. Along the way, he delivers advice about hiring, motivating, leadership, communication, team-building, coping with change, job design, performance evaluation, handling conflict and even how to develop charisma.
In the first part of The Truth About Managing People, Robbins offers no-nonsense lessons on finding the best candidate with a job interview. He writes that employers should avoid basing their hiring decisions on the traits of the candidate and instead should focus on the candidate's behavior. "The best predictor of a person's future behavior is his or her past behavior. So when interviewing candidates, ask questions that focus on previous experiences that are relevant to the current job opening," Robbins writes.
Realistic Job Previews
Another way Robbins explains that managers can find the right person for a job is by offering realistic job previews. Although most managers tend to paint rosy pictures of their organizations when describing a job to an applicant, Robbins writes that this tactic does not help eitherthe applicant or the organization. When an applicant hears nothing but positives about a job and finds that there are unexpected down sides in the course of the first few weeks, the new hire is likely to resign prematurely. This is why Robbins says managers should tell applicants about negative aspects of a job early, so they can either select themselves out of the search process, or they will be better prepared for the job if they take it.
The second part of The Truth About Managing People tackles the difficult subject of employee motivation. Here, he offers 12 answers to the most pressing motivation questions managers must ask themselves about their employees. To explain why many workers are not motivated to work, he places the blame squarely on the shoulders of managers and organizational practices, not employees. He writes that many employees lack motivation at work "because they see a weak relationship between their effort and performance, between performance and organizational rewards, and/or between the rewards they receive and the ones they really want." He explains that managers can better motivate their employees by strengthening these relationships.
In the third part of Robbins' book, he delivers the essentials about successfully leading people. He writes that the essence of leadership is trust. In times of change or crisis, people need personal relationships to turn to for guidance, and the quality of these relationships is primarily determined by the level of trust. To help leaders gain the trust of their employees, he says they must be open; fair; speak their feelings; tell the truth, even if it is something people don't want to hear; show consistency; fulfill their promises; and maintain confidences.
Hearing Is Not Listening
When tackling the issue of communication, Robbins writes that every manager must realize that hearing is not listening. Robbins suggests that an effective manager is also an effective listener who pays attention, does not interrupt and remembers. To help managers improve this skill, he offers several tips, including make eye contact, exhibit affirmative head nods and appropriate facial expressions, avoid distracting actions or gestures, ask questions, paraphrase, don't over-talk, and make smooth transitions between the roles of speaker and listener. He also reveals how each can be done properly.
Why Soundview Likes This Book
The Truth About Managing People is a great resource for managers because it consolidates essential skills into a reference guide that does not have to be read from front to back to receive its lessons. Instead, each idea is succinctly defined in two or three pages that stand alone as guidance on a particular topic. Plus, his brevity is a welcome addition to the format, and makes every point stand out against a background of simple explanations, evidence and examples. Robbins' ability to state his thoughts about better management in concise language makes this tiny book a huge asset for any manager who either wants to brush up on his or her skills, or anyone who wants to learn the best ways to effectively manage an organization. Copyright (c) 2002 Soundview Executive Book Summaries