For more than twenty years, management expert Bruce Tulgan has been asking, “What are the most difficult challenges you face when it comes to managing people?”
Regardless of industry or job title, managers cite the same core issues—27 recurring challenges: the superstar whom the manager is afraid of losing, the slacker whom the manager cannot figure out how to motivate, the one with an attitude problem, and the two who cannot get along, to name just a few.
It turns out that when things are going wrong in a management relationship, the common denominator is almost always unstructured, low substance, hit-or-miss communication.
The real problem is that most managers are “managing on autopilot” without even realizing it—until something goes wrong. And if you are managing on autopilot, then something almost always does.
The 27 Challenges Managers Face shows exactly how to break the vicious cycle and gain control of management relationships. No matter what the issue, Tulgan shows that the fundamentals are all you need. The very best managers hold ongoing one-on-one conversations that make expectations clear, track performance, offer feedback, and hold people accountable.
For every workplace problem—even the most awkward and difficult—The 27 Challenges Managers Face shows how to tailor conversations to solve situations familiar to every manager. Tulgan offers clear approaches for turning around bad attitudes, reducing friction and conflict, improving low performers, retaining top performers, and even addressing your own personal burnout.
The 27 Challenges Managers Face is an indispensable resource for managers at all levels, one anyone managing anyone will want to keep on hand. One challenge at a time, you’ll see how the most effective managers use the fundamentals of management to proactively resolve (nearly) any problem a manager could face.
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About the Author
BRUCE TULGAN is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as RainmakerThinking.Training, an online training company. Bruce is the author of numerous books, including the bestselling It’s Okay to Be the Boss, the classic Managing Generation X, Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, and It’s Okay to Manage Your Boss. He has written for the New York Times, USA Today, the Harvard Business Review, and Human Resources. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
For more information, please visit www.rainmakerthinking.com
Table of Contents
A Note on How to Use This Book 1
Chapter One The Fundamentals are All You Need 3
Chapter Two The Challenges of Being the “New” Manager 29
Management Challenge #1: When Going from Peer to Leader 37
Management Challenge #2: When Coming from the Outside to Take Over Leadership of an Existing Team 41
Management Challenge #3: When Bringing Together an Entirely New Team 47
Management Challenge #4: When You are Welcoming a New Member to Your Existing Team 51
Chapter Three The Challenges of Teaching Self-Management 57
Management Challenge #5: When Employees Have a Hard Time Managing Time 62
Management Challenge #6: When an Employee Needs Help with Interpersonal Communication 71
Management Challenge #7: When an Employee Needs to Get Organized 77
Management Challenge #8: When an Employee Needs to Get Better at Problem Solving 80
Chapter Four The Challenges of Managing Performance 88
Management Challenge #9: When You Have an Employee Who Needs to Increase Productivity 98
Management Challenge #10: When You Have an Employee Who Needs to Improve Quality 103
Management Challenge #11: When You Need an Employee to Start “Going the Extra Mile” 107
Management Challenge #12: When Your Employees are Doing “Creative” Work 110
Management Challenge #13: When the Employee You are Managing Knows More About the Work Than You Do 114
Chapter Five The Challenges of Managing Attitudes 118
Management Challenge #14: When an Employee Needs an Attitude Adjustment 125
Management Challenge #15: When There is Conflict Between and Among Individuals on Your Team 137
Management Challenge #16: When an Employee Has Personal Issues at Home 140
Chapter Six The Challenges of Managing Superstars 144
Management Challenge #17: When There is a Superstar You Need to Keep Engaged 153
Management Challenge #18: When You Have a Superstar You Really Want to Retain 158
Management Challenge #19: When You Have a Superstar You are Going to Lose for Sure: How to Lose That Superstar Very Well 165
Management Challenge #20: When You Need to Move a Superstar to the Next Level to Develop as a New Leader 170
Chapter Seven The Challenges of Managing Despite Forces Outside Your Control 175
Management Challenge #21: When Managing in an Environment of Constant Change and Uncertainty 179
Management Challenge #22: When Managing Under Resource Constraints 184
Management Challenge #23: When Managing Through Interdependency 188
Management Challenge #24: When Managing Around Logistical Hurdles 196
Management Challenge #25: When Managing Across Differences in Language and Culture 199
Chapter Eight The Challenges of Management Renewal 204
Management Challenge #26: When You Need to Renew Your Management Relationship with a Disengaged Employee 206
Management Challenge #27: When You Need to Renew Your Own Commitment to Being a Strong, Highly Engaged Manager 212
About the Author 227
The book covers many of the common problems faced by managers. The analysis and guidance is clear and concise. It's organized by situation, so it's great as a quick reference...or can serve as a more comprehensive manual if read from cover to cover. It provides a glass through which to view both how to handle your direct reports...and to assess yourself and your own relationship to your manager and coworkers. It's simple to follow and a great resource!
I have read virtually all of Bruce Tulgan's books since Managing Generation X arrived on the scene nearly 20 years ago. I have always found them helpful and now are added to by The 27 Challenges Managers Face. This will be a simple but thoughtful resource for any manager to assist in dealing with almost any mamagement problem. Another useful contribution---thanks, again, Bruce.
Non-profit organizations are primarily mission driven. Most employees who work in non-profits enjoy the people-first culture of the organization and are committed to meeting to lower salaries and a sense of alturism. However, management problems exist in every organization, regardless of the motives of the stakeholders. The 27 Challengers Managers Face by Bruce Tulgren provides a process that is useful to non-profit managers who are held to a higher standard because they are stewards of public and private money. A recommended read for non-profit managers.
I think most managers would get a lot out of this book. The author presents very clear useable advice on almost every management challenge imaginable. The book is well organized to make it an easy reference to go back to. I really could have used this book when I was starting out as a manager and even now I expect I will be referring back to it frequently.
From his trove of experience, Bruce Tulgan here gives the in-the-trenches manager a concise, step-by-step guide to success. Tulgan's previous books were essential to me when all of a sudden I needed to start managing professionals. This is his best book yet. Tulgan hands you -- without speculation or pretense -- the practical steps you can start taking tomorrow morning to get your group to realize its potential and work the way you know it can. Thank you for cutting to the chase and making me a better manager.-Christopher P. Fey MD, Greenwich, CT
I am very appreciative of Bruce Tugan's new book, The 27 Challenges That Managers Face. I plan to carry a hard copy with me as a guide. I know that good communication is a weakness of mine and that also takes practice to improve. This book not only explains the problems, it provides a practical guide. I hope every manager purchases a copy and puts it into practice. Rev. Julie
I am constantly impressed by Bruce Tulgan's ability to understand the modern workplace. His insights are always helpful to me in my work. He helps me to make decisions so I can get the most out of the relationships I have with my staff. This book is another outstanding contribution from one of my favorite management authors.
This book covers the waterfront, with valuable insight for managers across industies. It reminds us that to manage well is to manage often. Readers will appreciate having Bruce Tulgan as a coach, sitting on their bookshelf and available for consultation at a moment's notice. Mr. Tulgan thoughtfully and effectively shows us how to re-commit ourselves to our colleagues by being better. As the book notes, the concepts are simple but turning them into action is not. This book will help readers do just that -- again and again.