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81 Challenges Smart Managers Face

by Tim Connor
Sourcebooks Inc., 276 pages, $9.31

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Ever feel like there are things holding you back from being the best manager you can be? 81 Challenges Smart Managers Face treats these challenges as opportunities for you to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Author Tim Connor breaks his list of challenges managers deal with into 13 categories that range from hiring to training to teambuilding. No matter what your level, Connor's techniques and concepts give insight into current, relevant scenarios you encounter daily. This book is especially vital because it addresses issues including technology and managing a diverse set of employees that managers face in today's workplace.

81 Challenges Smart Managers Face champions the virtues of self-assessment in bettering your performance. The book begins with the immense importance that a manager's attitude has in managing a team. Connor discusses the importance of controlling the ego - giving up complete control and delegating critical tasks. His checklist to help managers gain insight into their own shortcomings includes questions like "Can I admit failure?" and "Do I trust my employees?"

Once supervisors reach a certain level, the temptation is to rest on laurels and to believe that continuing to do what got you there will still spell success. Challenge #7 is "Working With a Coach or Mentor" to help you stay fresh and innovative. "Operating in a vacuum simply doesn't work," writes Connor. "The right mentor or coach can challenge your thinking, hold you accountable, and help you reach your goals."

One novel aspect of the book is that Connor does not simply echo age-old, accepted principles and reaffirm them. Instead, he dissects them and reveals their shortcomings. For example, he points out that "Delegating is a tremendous motivational tool, but it can also be a de-motivational tool." His prescription for delegating is to give parameters (such as due dates and expected results) and not to give too many guidelines, rules, and how-to's. Otherwise, you destroy the purpose of delegating.

"If you have a problem, crisis, issue, or any negative situation in your business, department, division, or group, look up the ladder for the cause and down the ladder for the solution," advises Connor. He includes an "It's Your Turn" section that functions as a workbook for managers to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. No matter how bright you are as a manager, unforeseen challenges arise that cause you to question your methods. With 81 Challenges Smart Managers Face, you have a great tool to tackle challenges pertaining to every phase of management.

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