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The First-Time Manager / Edition 6

The First-Time Manager / Edition 6


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814417836
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Edition description: Sixth Edition
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 81,412
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jim McCormick(Denver, CO) is founder and president of the Research Institute for Risk Intelligence, and the former COO of the nation’s fifth-largest architectural firm. As an organizational consultant and executive coach, he has extensive experience working with CEOs and other leaders.

Gary S. Topchik is the managing partner of SilverStar Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in management development. An internationally active speaker, he is the author of Managing Workplace Negativity.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The Road to Management

There are many different ways that individuals become managers.

Unfortunately, many companies don’t go through a very thorough process in choosing those who will be moved into a managerial position. Often the judgment is based solely on how well the person is performing in his or her current position. The best individual contributor doesn’t always make the best manager, although many companies still make the choice on that basis. The theory is that successful past performance is the best indicator of future success. However, management skills are very different from the skills one needs to succeed as an individual contributor.

So the fact that an employee is a good performer, even though he or she demonstrates a pattern of success, doesn’t necessarily mean the person will be a successful manager. Being a manager requires skills beyond those of being an excellent technician. Managers need to focus on people, not just tasks. They need to rely on others, not just be self-reliant. Managers are al-so team-oriented and have a broad focus, whereas nonmanagers succeed by having a narrow focus and being detail-oriented. In many ways, transi-tioning from the role of an individual contributor to a manager is similar to the difference between being a technician and being an artist. The manager is an artist because management is often nuanced and subjective. It involves a different mindset.

Management Is Not for Everyone

Some companies have management-training programs. These programs vary from excellent to horrible. Too often, the program is given to people who already have been in managerial positions for a number of years. Even experienced managers periodically should be given refresher courses in management style and techniques. If a training program has any merit a however, it should be given to individuals who are being considered for management positions. The training program will not only help them avoid mistakes, it also gives trainees the opportunity to see whether they will be comfortable leading others. A management training program that helps potential managers decide that they are not suited for management has done both the prospective managers and the organization they are a part of a great favor.

Unfortunately, far too many organizations still use the ‘‘ sink or swim ’’

method of management training. All employees who move into supervisory positions must figure it out on their own. This method assumes that everyone intuitively knows how to manage. They don’t. Managing people is crucial to the success of any organization; but in too many cases, it is left to chance. Anyone who has worked for any length of time has observed situa-tions where a promotion didn’t work out and the person asked for the old job back. The well-known saying, ‘‘Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it’’ comes to mind. In many companies, the opportunities for promotion are limited if you don’t go into management. As a result a some people go into management who shouldn’t be there—and they wouldn’t want to be in management if other opportunities existed for salary increases and promotion.

A series of management seminars was conducted for one company that used an enlightened approach to the problem of moving the wrong people into management. Everyone under potential consideration for a first-line management position was invited to attend an all-day seminar on what is involved in the management of people. Included were some simple but typi-cal management problems. When these candidates were invited to attend a they were told by the company, ‘‘If after attending this seminar you decide that the management of people is not something you want to do, just say so. That decision will in no way affect other nonmanagement promotion possibilities or future salary decisions in your current position.’’

Approximately five hundred people attended these seminars, and approximately twenty percent decided they did not want to move into man-agement. After getting a brief taste of management, approximately one hun-dred people knew they would not make good managers, but they were still valuable employees. Far too many people accept management promotions because they feel (often rightly so) that they will be dead-ended if they re-

The Omnipotent One

Some people believe that if you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself. People with this attitude rarely make good leaders or managers because they have difficulty delegating responsibility. Everyone has seen these people: They delegate only those trivial tasks that anyone could per-form, and anything meaningful they keep for themselves. As a result, they work evenings and weekends and take a briefcase home as well. There is nothing wrong with working overtime. Most people occasionally must devote some extra time to the job, but those who follow this pattern as a way of life are poor managers. They have so little faith in their team mem-bers that they trust them with only trivial tasks. What they are really saying is that they don’t know how to properly train their people.

There is often a staff turnover problem in a team with this kind of manager.

The employees are usually more qualified than the ‘‘omnipotent one’’

believes and they soon tire of handling only trivia.

You probably know of an omnipotent one in your own organization. It is a problem if you’re working for one, because you’ll have a difficult time being promoted. Caught up in your impossible situation, you’re not given anything important to do. As a result, you never get a chance to demonstrate your abilities. Omnipotent ones seldom give out recommendations for promo-tion. They are convinced that the reason they must do all the work is that their staff doesn’t accept responsibility. They can never admit that it is because they refuse to delegate. The trap of becoming an omnipotent one is being emphasized because you don’t want to allow yourself to fall into this mode of behavior.

One other unvarying trait of omnipotent ones is that they seldom take their vacations all at once. They take only a couple days off at a time be-cause they are certain the company can’t function longer than that without them. Before going on vacation, they will leave specific instructions as to what work is to be saved until their return. In some situations, they’ll leave a phone number where they can be reached in an emergency. Of course, they define what the emergency might be. The omnipotent one even complains to family and friends, ‘‘I can’t even get away from the problems at work for a few days without being bothered.’’ What omnipotent ones don’t say is that this is exactly the way they want it because it makes them feel important. For some omnipotent managers, their retirement years are demolished because retirement means an end to their dedication to the job, their perceived indis-pensability, and possibly their reason for living.

The Chosen Few

Sometimes, people are chosen to head a function because they’re related to or have an ‘‘in’’ with the boss. Consider yourself fortunate if you do not work for this type of company. Even if you are related to the boss, it’s very difficult to assume additional responsibility under these circumstances. You doubtless have the authority, but today’s businesses aren’t dictatorships and people won’t perform well for you just because you’ve been anointed by upper management. So, if you’re the boss’s son or daughter or friend, you really need to prove yourself. You’ll get surface respect or positional respect a but let’s face it—it’s what people really think of you, not what they say to you, that matters—and that affects how they perform.

In the best organizations, you’re not chosen for a managerial position because of your technical knowledge, but because someone has seen the spark of leadership in you. That is the spark you must start developing.

Leadership is difficult to define. A leader is a person others look to for direc-tion, someone whose judgment is respected because it is usually sound. As

you exercise your judgment and develop the capacity to make sound deci-sions, it becomes a self-perpetuating characteristic. Your faith in your own decision-making power is fortified. That feeds your self-confidence, and with more self-confidence, you become less reluctant to make difficult deci-sions.

Leaders are people who can see into the future and visualize the results of their decision making. Leaders can also set aside matters of personality and make decisions based on fact. This doesn’t mean you ignore the human element—you never ignore it—but you always deal with the facts themselves a not with people’s emotional perception of those facts.

People are chosen to be managers for a variety of reasons. If you’re chosen for sound reasons, acceptance by your new staff will, for the most part a be much easier to gain.

Table of Contents


Preface to the Sixth Edition vii

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1



1. The Road to Management 5

2. Starting Out 9

3. Building Trust and Confidence 17

4. Show Your Appreciation 21

5. Being an Active Listener 24

6. The New Manager’s Job and Pitfalls to Avoid 29

7. Dealing with Your Superiors 33

8. Choosing a Managerial Style of Your Own 39



9. Building a Team Dynamic 45

10. Managing Problem Employees 50

11. Hiring and Interviewing 56

12. Training Team Members 66

13. Managing Change: Dealing with Resistance 72

14. Disciplining the Employee 75

15. ‘‘Oh My God! I Can’t Fire Anyone!’’ 84

16. Having a Legal Awareness 93



17. No Secrets 101

18. The Human Resources Department 104

19. The Current State of Loyalty 107

20. Is There Such a Thing as Motivation? 109

21. Understanding Risk Inclination 116

22. Encouraging Initiative and Innovation 121

23. Improving Outcomes 126

24. The Generation Gap 131



25. Writing Job Descriptions 137

26. Doing Performance Appraisals 140

27. Salary Administration 152



28. Having Emotional Intelligence 159

29. Developing a Positive Self-Image 162

30. Managing Your Own Time 179

31. The Written Word 187

32. The Grapevine 191

33. Your Best Friend: Delegation 193

34. A Sense of Humor 197

35. Managing, Participating in, and Leading Meetings 200

36. Taking Center Stage: The Role of Public Speaking in Your Career 207



37. Coping with Stress 215

38. Having Balance in Your Life 219

39. A Touch of Class 222

Conclusion 224

Index 227

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