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AMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career

AMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career

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by Edward Reilly

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Professionals today, whether they are new or seasoned, need a solid foundation of essential skills in order to keep pace with the speed of change. The American Management Association, the preeminent provider of business education worldwide, trains the majority of the Fortune 500 companies in competitive business skills. Now, for the


Professionals today, whether they are new or seasoned, need a solid foundation of essential skills in order to keep pace with the speed of change. The American Management Association, the preeminent provider of business education worldwide, trains the majority of the Fortune 500 companies in competitive business skills. Now, for the first time, AMA has assembled the most critical, “must-have” skills for managers and leaders in one handy volume. AMA Business Boot Camp paves the way for readers to:

• Motivate, increase morale, and enhance productivity

• Manage organizational change

• Improve their ability to communicate and influence others

• Screen, evaluate, and select corporate strategies

• Conduct effective performance reviews

• Protect themselves against the pitfalls of intra-organizational politics

• And much more

Covering everything from management and leadership to project management and strategy, this one-of-kind reference serves as a crash course in the fundamentals required for lasting success.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"…serves as a both a crash course and comprehensive checklist of the task and responsibilities …to achieve excellence and move organizations forward." --Small Business Digest

"…’crash course’ in management and leadership… great book if you just got promoted to a Management position or even if you are in a Senior Management position.” --Inspire and Action

"...reader’s digest of fundamental management and leadership skills...complete set of solid management principles and practices every aspiring and newly promoted manager should embody.” --Strategy Driven Professional

“…substantial value to individual executives at all levels and in all areas of the given organization…” --Blogging on Business

“…marks the first time that a book on fundamental management has been assembled by the AMA in a single book. Concise and easily understood..." --Inland Empire Business Journal

"…highly successful attempt to produce a brief yet thorough summary of the most important principles of leadership and management…written in clear, nontechnical language.” --Choice

"…for all leaders, not just new leaders. Even the most experienced veteran of the corner office can benefit from a review of the basics." --Soundview

“Newbies—and veterans—should attend this 'boot camp’… book that readers will refer to as they meet challenges in the course of learning on the job.” --ABA Banking Journal

“...a great way for you to get 90 years’ worth of AMA experience in 236 pages of common sense and sage advice.” --Life Insurance Selling

“This book covers everything you need to know to hit the ground running as a new manager.” --A Girl’s Guide to Project Management

One of the Top Leadership Books of 2013 Eric Jacobson On Management and Leadership.com

“…will be especially helpful to new administrators seeking a foundation of basic administrative skills to succeed in education administration.” --The School Administrator

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Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career


Copyright © 2013 American Management Association
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-2001-0

Chapter One

Basic Management

On a day-to-day basis, managers need to know the answers to the "how much" and "where" questions: How much time, money, and staffing are required for a project? Should the top talent and big dollars go to project A or project B?

Regardless of your talent for handling numbers or precision in judging how long a task takes, your success as a manager hinges on your interaction with people.


The core responsibility of a manager is getting work done through others. To step into a workplace and make a difference, you need to act on the premise that, as a manager, you are no longer responsible for what you alone accomplish. You no longer hold the identity of an individual contributor and therefore your success is no longer measured by the completion of your work alone. As a manager, you now must interact with your direct reports and coordinate their efforts to achieve your departmental and your organizational goals.

Your capacity to identify the needs of your people and to apply and cultivate their abilities underlies your ability to achieve results through them. You have to play many roles as you take these actions; how well you do that will directly determine your effectiveness as a manager.

The eight primary roles that belong in your repertoire as manager are these:

1. Leader. Leaders adopt a big-picture view and consider day-today requirements in terms of mission and goals. They determine where the organization needs to go and then move forward by thinking strategically about the directions they need to take. They need to have persuasive abilities to help the organization realize their vision. They also form relationships beyond the organization and maintain its reputation.

2. Director. Directors define a problem and take the initiative to determine a solution. Using planning and goal-setting skills, the director determines what to delegate and ensures that other individuals understand their scope of work, specific tasks, and challenges.

3. Contributor. Contributors focus on tasks and work, ensuring they are personally productive, in addition to motivating others to ensure the organization's productivity hits its highest potential.

4. Coach. Coaches develop people through a caring, empathetic orientation that includes being supportive, considerate, sensitive, approachable, open, and fair.

5. Facilitator. Facilitators foster a collective effort for the organization, building cohesion and teamwork and managing interpersonal conflict.

6. Observer. Observers stay attentive to actions and relationships around them, determining whether people are meeting their objectives and watching to see that the unit meets its goals. Observers also have responsibility for understanding what is important for the team to know and averting information overload.

7. Innovator. Innovators facilitate adaptation and change, paying attention to the changing environment, identifying trends impacting the organization, and then determining changes needed for the organization's success.

8. Organizer. Organizers take responsibility for planning work, as well as organizing tasks and structures. They then follow up to ensure tasks are completed by attending to technological needs, staff coordination, and crisis handling.

Search for the keywords and key concepts in the eight role descriptions to get a clear sense of what skills you must have to function well as a manager: plan, delegate, motivate, support, team-build, inform, change, coordinate. All of these functions are covered in the upcoming pages.

Consider first, however, that the foundation for playing all your roles well and exercising the spectrum of management skills is a healthy work environment.

Take a look at how this spectrum of roles (identified in parentheses) plays out in a real work environment, namely, within the division of a major technology company serving the federal government market.

Michael V. Martucci held the position of marketing director for the Washington, D.C., operation of a major multinational computer company. He knew that a strong alliance with the primary value-added reseller (VAR) selling his company's products to the federal government was essential to success (Leader). He further determined that a problem existed because the VAR alone did not have the resources to showcase the products properly, so the division needed to stage a major product-related event in collaboration with the VAR (Director). He reached out to his direct reports in marketing, his colleagues in media relations, and the sales and engineering teams to alert them that a new push in collaboration with the VAR was necessary to ensure success in the market (Contributor). The most junior members of the marketing team had doubts about their ability to contribute to such a significant effort, so he pinpointed areas where their talents specifically matched project requirements (Coach). He brought everyone together and painted a picture of what needed to be done. He also admitted that he needed them to share their insights about how to stage this big event in collaboration with the VAR because, frankly, it hadn't been done before (Facilitator). He gave them a vision and a working plan, turned them loose to flesh out the plan and develop a program of action, and then had each group come back to him with their progress reports (Observer). His next move was to introduce each group's plan to the other groups, along with a proposal to coordinate the efforts and approaches. Each group had to change its plan a little, but they all had the same goal, so people handled the modifications well once the vision was clear (Innovator). Mike's other major contribution was to provide everyone with a map of how the event would flow—from preparation through execution—and to make sure that event coordinators had checklists not only to stage the event, but also to handle any crisis (Organizer). The event with the VAR brought both participation and accolades from the CEO and excellent media coverage for the company. Sales followed.


In days gone by, an organization chart conveyed hierarchy more than interrelationships and "manager" meant "boss." Managers and their peers operated in a directive style, telling people what to do and then closely supervising them as they carried out the directive. The opposite structure is a flat organization—that is, departments or even entire companies in which levels of authority have little significance and every person is effectively his own boss. The idea is that competent workers have more motivation to be productive when they participate in the decision-making process, rather than focus on what the supervisor says and how to please that person. Over time, the shift toward flat has changed the demands on managers and the expectations that workers have in dealing with them.

The Nature of Decision Making

The "telling what to do" model for decision making has a place in organizations, but creates an uneasy environment when it becomes the default. Effective managers know when, and how, to ask for input on a decision, listen to majority opinion, forge consensus when necessary, and delegate.

Peter Earnest (Business Confidential, AMACOM) became executive director of the International Spy Museum after twenty-five years as a clandestine officer for the Central Intelligence Agency and another eleven years in senior executive roles at CIA headquarters. When it comes to making decisions about exhibits and "spy adventures" at the museum, Peter must adopt an I-say-you-do approach. The alternative is to risk having the creative minds on the education-program team come up with something that's more Hollywood than it is grounded in reality. By using that directive approach when necessary but only when necessary he gives the team clarity on when and to what extent they can innovate and make decisions independently.

Characteristics of a Healthy Workplace

The environment that engenders a healthy working relationship has several key characteristics, namely:

* People working together have clear expectations for the work to be completed. The direct reports and their managers share a vision of the tasks at hand.

* The team has the knowledge, skill, and motivation to get the job done. Managers pay attention to their direct reports' behavior to make that determination.

* Each individual's needs and drivers merit consideration by the managers.

* Individuals receive coaching for improved performance.

* Peers and teams have effective ways of working together that enable them to collaborate on projects.

When you create the right environment, achieving results through others becomes much easier. Your aim is to help create the right motivational situation to ensure your department's success.

Misaligned relationships with former peers and confused expectations with managers above you are common obstacles to creating that kind of environment.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a new manager is supervising people who were formerly your peers and may now resent the power shift. Be objective, fair, and focused on making the most of your new career opportunity and confirming your senior manager's opinion that you were indeed the best candidate for the job.

Another perspective on the power shift involves your senior manager seeing you in the new role. Establish expectations with that person so that you aren't dealing with the vestiges of your previous job or your predecessor's job performance.

To prevent these obstacles from taking shape, or to tear them down once they have started to form, you need strong communication skills. These skills are also fundamental to your success in the roles you play as a manager.


New managers commonly make the mistake of focusing almost exclusively on upward communication. They worry about what their "boss" thinks of them, believing that the boss is the most important person to please. They give little thought to the people who really control their future: their direct reports.

Your employees will have more influence on your success than any other group or individual. Their ability to function and add value to the organization depends on your ability to communicate effectively with them, which is as important as your efforts to connect, in speech and writing, up the chain of command.

The Content of Business Communication

Regardless of whom you're communicating with, the first step in improving communication is to recognize what you need to communicate. Consider these categories of important information as a starting point for organizing your thoughts on communicating upward:

* Performance reports

* Situation reports

* Recommendations

* Requests for additional resources

* Planning

Each of these items is either self-explanatory or examples will come later in this section. One type of communication that bears a closer look here is the situation report, called a SITREP by military personnel. Updating those higher up the chain of command about changes in the status of your project or program reduces the possibility of their making decisions based on old or tainted information. A situation report does not have to be long; in fact, it's better if the communication stays succinct.

In the battlefield, it might take shape as a ten-second call to a senior officer. For example: "On the Blue Route at RP 9. Enemy sighted at RP 7. No weapons fired. On schedule to reach tarmac by 1800. Radio silence until then."

In the office, it might be a two-sentence e-mail to the boss: "Customer complaint over system performance addressed in on-site call today. Final test of system upgrades 9 a.m. Thursday."

Similarly, when communicating to your direct reports, consider these categories of information as a starting point for organizing your thoughts:

* Procedures

* Project information

* Scheduled meetings

* Conference calls

* Team objectives and goals

* Employee performance

* Key personnel shifts

* Change in major customer/stakeholder relationship

* Good/bad financial news

Each of these communication types receives more individual attention in subsequent chapters on performance and project management.

Communication Process

The communication process involves certain components, and your awareness of them will help keep you on track in terms of what you express and how you express it.

The sender develops a message that is encoded with her individual experience, values, attitudes, language, and so on. The receiver hears the message and, from his own perspective (i.e., using his experience, values, attitudes, and language), interprets the message. The receiver provides feedback based on what he believes he has heard.

Too little information may cause a negative reaction, so always keep the receiver in mind when composing the message, whether written or spoken. State the main points succinctly, providing sufficient information regarding an action requested, but not stuffing the message with more information than the person needs.

Note the difference between these two statements:

"All team members will work overtime until further notice."

"Due to the latest information on the market opportunities for this toy, it will be necessary for all team members to work overtime for the next ten days to get the design completed. Thanks for your cooperation."

The first statement is quite likely to create resistance. The receivers of this message have no idea why you are telling them to work overtime or how long they are expected to work these extra hours. Many questions, at least in their minds, surface. Team members will spend time discussing the message and speculating on the answers to their questions. While the second statement takes about seven seconds longer to deliver, the clarity of it allows receivers to hear it and have at least some of their questions answered. They will hear and accept it with less resistance.

"Ann," the office manager for a forty-person trade association, sent an e-mail to all staff members stating that new Apple computers would be installed the following week. Although most people agreed they needed new computers, almost no one liked the abruptness of the change or the choice of brand, which represented a real departure from the personal computers they had on their desks. Ann would not have encountered such initial hostility if she'd simply told the staff that she had to act fast to get a big discount and that the purchase included two days of training with flexible dates.

Questioning Styles

Clear communication involves asking good questions as much as it does making statements. The four basic types of questions are open-ended, closed-ended, probing, and hypothetical. (Advantages and examples of each as they pertain to the interview process are provided in Chapter 3 in the section on "the hiring process—interviewing.") Knowing the generic value of each type of question will help you choose the right style to use in day-to-day communication, both oral and written.

Open-Ended Questions

* Open-ended questions require full multiple-word responses.

* The answers generally lend themselves to discussion and result in information that you can use to build additional questions.

* Open-ended questions thus allow you time to plan subsequent questions.

* Open-ended questions encourage people to talk, which gives you an opportunity to listen actively to responses, assess the other person's verbal communication skills, and observe the individual's pattern of nonverbal communication.

* Such questions are especially helpful in encouraging shy or withdrawn employees to talk.

Example: "What are some of the ways you might use that speaker's information on rapport building?"

Closed-Ended Questions

* Closed-ended questions are answered with a single word—generally yes or no.

* Because closed-ended questions result in concise answers, they give the questioner greater control than open-ended questions.

Example: "Do you plan to use the speaker's techniques for rapport building?"

Probing Questions

* Probing questions move a conversation along by building on a previous statement.

* They are usually short and simply worded.

* There are three types of probing questions:

1. Rational probes request reasons, using short questions such as "Why?" "How?" "When?" "How often?" and "Who?"

Example: "How will you use the speaker's information on rapport building?"

2. Clarifier probes are used to qualify or expand upon information provided in a previous response, using questions such as, "What caused that to happen?" "Who else was involved in that decision?" "What happened next?" and "What were the circumstances that led to that result?"

Example: "What are some of the other ways you might use the speaker's information?"

3. Verifier probes check out the honesty of a statement.

Example: "You said in your e-mail that your new rapport-building skills have already made a difference in your sales efforts. Can you quantify the impact?"

* People who have trouble providing full answers usually appreciate the extra help that comes from a probing question, but too many probing questions can make them feel defensive.

Hypothetical Questions

* Hypothetical questions are based on anticipated situations and pose a problem.

* Hypotheticals help you assess some of the personality traits and idiosyncrasies in people's work styles that could make a big difference in a project.

Example: Before going into a meeting with a potential customer, you might ask your direct report, "If the customer seems uncomfortable with the discussion, what are some of the ways you might put him more at ease?"


Excerpted from AMA BUSINESS BOOT CAMP Copyright © 2013 by American Management Association. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

EDWARD T. REILLY is the CEO of AMA International. Previously, he was President and CEO of Big Flower Holdings, Inc. (NYSE-BGF), a leading provider of integrated marketing and advertising services, and he also served as head of the McGraw-Hill International Book Company and President of The McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Company.

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AMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
NathanIves More than 1 year ago
AMA Business Boot Camp edited by American Management Association (AMA) International CEO Edward T. Reilly is a reader's digest of fundamental management and leadership skills. Within this book, Edward compiles leading practices garnered from AMA's ninety years of research and observation of the world's top performing managers. This book contains essential insights for newly promoted and aspiring managers to: - Define their role as a manager; creating a healthy and productive workplace environment - Identify employee motivators; delegating for development and coaching for superior performance - Adapt to a changing organization; recruiting, interviewing, and selecting the right person for the job and the organization - Manage projects; from setting scope and selecting a team to delivering on-time, on-budget results - Develop a personal leadership style; building power and influence and motivating `difficult' people while avoiding the pitfalls of office politics I like AMA Business Book Camp for its solid focus on management fundamentals. Edward thoroughly covers the foundational principles and practices every manager must embody in order to be successful. Additionally, the book contains many useful templates that newly promoted managers can add to their personal `tool kit' so to further accelerate their growth into well performing leaders. While thorough in its discussion of management basics, I found AMA Business Boot Camp to lack the vivid real-world examples that would have brought the application of its concepts to life. This lack of examples diminished the book's actionable nature; challenging less experienced managers to determine for themselves what the recommended implementation would look like in the workplace environment. AMA Business Boot Camp contains the complete set of solid management principles and practices every aspiring and newly promoted manager should embody. As such, I believe this book would serve these individuals well as they start their management journey; making AMA Business Boot Camp a StrategyDriven recommended read. All the Best, Nathan Ives StrategyDriven Principal
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
When it comes to learning the skills you need to run a business, you are in good hands with the American Management Association (AMA). In this comprehensive manual for corporate managers, editor Edward T. Reilly, president and CEO of the AMA, expertly covers the topics you must know to be an effective leader and manager. This is solid and reliable – though basic – guidance for all businesspeople. getAbstract recommends Reilly’s survey course to anyone, particularly newer managers, seeking up-to-date business management information.