Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Book Review: 12: The Elements of Great Managing

Twelve: The Elements of Great Managing *Click here to request this book* 12 : The Elements of Great Managing, by Rodd Wagner and James K. Hart

Drawing on data and interviews from the renowned Gallup organization, Rodd Wagner and James K. Hart have written a book that speaks to employees and managers alike. What makes a satisfied, dedicated employee? How can managers maximize company profits and avoid wasted time dealing with the complaints and turnover of workers? We spend a large portion of our waking hours at work, but how can that be a positive and fulfilling experience for all concerned rather than a grind to be endured day after day?

As they explore the problems of the modern workplace – be it a law firm, construction site, factory, multinational corporation, or small business – Wagner and Harter combine polling data, anecdotes, case studies, and insights into human behavior and interaction to determine how to effectively manage a staff. They offer 12 key elements; questions that, if answered affirmatively by employees, will lead to a strong and dynamic company overall. These include: “My opinions seem to count”; “Someone at work encourages my development”; “Materials and equipment” that help do the job well; and “A connection with the mission of the company”. A few seem obvious (e.g. “Recognition and praise”; “Knowing what’s expected”) but in the hands of these skilled authors are developed in depth to help managers understand just why it makes a difference and the small, cost-effective ways they can change behaviors to boost the bottom line.

The case studies and polling data range across countries, industries, and age groups, bringing even more credibility to this well-researched volume. Unlike so many books based on surveys and sociological studies, The Twelve Elements of Great Managing steers clear of dry recitations; instead, it brings its points to life and allows the reader to ask herself key questions as to her own behavior and the ways that even the best supervisors or company can improve. At bottom, Wagner and Harter follow one of their best tips: they put the people (readers) first. They do not serve a particular agenda or favor a particular management style. Rather, they help incorporate their 12 elements into any personality or company need. Like the exemplary managers they use as models, these authors have “worked hard to do the right thing for their people” – and with it, earned the success they promise the managers they speak to. --Adult Circulation Staff

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