By Gary P. Latham
2009, 200 pages, Hardcover
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Excerpts from the Introduction
Most books on management focus only on the art. Although the techniques presented in those books often appear factual and promise results if you use a given step-by-step methodology, the techniques themselves are not well researched or grounded in science. Instead, they are based on the authors’ personal experiences as managers, their particular best practices, or plain old-fashioned intuition. Sometimes these methods are transferable to you, the reader; typically they are not. In sum, the advice is hit or miss. Why? Because art and intuition are usually unique to an individual. What works for one manager in one environment (experience and best practices) may not work in another environment, let alone for another manager.
The bottom line is that most management books just have too much art and too little science. Though the art and intuition of management do have value, they can seldom be taught or transferred. In contrast, the science of management can be taught and transferred. So it makes a lot more sense—and gives you more return for your time—to focus on tips and techniques for managing others to high performance that are grounded in empirical research. This book was written to underscore the scientific aspect of effective management—what is called evidence-based management—in an artful way. Here, I aim to
● Share management techniques that have been proven by valid and reliable research studies to work
● Share this information in an engaging way that makes sense to you, the manager
My goal is to share with you everything I’ve learned about evidence-based management over the past thirty-six years as an organizational psychologist with one foot planted in the real world of the private and public sectors and the other in the academic arena.
As an organizational psychologist, I have conducted countless studies on ways to improve management practices. In my work as a corporate staff psychologist and consultant, I have accumulated years of experience applying the results of psychological research in the workplace. As an HR consultant, I serve as a translator of sorts to help everyday managers become high performers by using evidence-based management practices. In this book, I’ve worked to share the most effective methods for hiring, inspiring, training, motivating, and appraising employees shown by years of research to deliver high performance. As a result, instead of being hit or miss—working for some managers but not others, working in some fields but not others—this book will be right on target for you. It provides you management techniques that really deliver, whether you’re in the private or public sector and no matter what your level of management skill or experience.
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Specifically, this book will give you the essential information you need to become an evidence-based manager from the hiring stage to the retention stage—from A to Z. This information will be presented within the following six general lessons of management:
Lesson 1: Use the right tools to identify and hire high-performing employees.
Lesson 2: Inspire your employees to effectively execute strategy effectively.
Lesson 3: Develop and train employees to create a high-performing team.
Lesson 4: Motivate your employees to become high performers.
Lesson 5: Instill resiliency in the face of setbacks.
Lesson 6: Coach, don’t appraise, your employees to be high performers.
In themselves, these lessons are not novel. You already know, for example, that you should use valid tools to hire the right people. Yet most line managers don’t know which tools have been proven, through research, to be effective. This book gives that information. Similarly, most managers want to make sure that their team is well trained and prepared for high performance, but they may not have access to training techniques shown by research to be most effective for ensuring that this occurs.
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In my work, I have continually received “Aha!” feedback from managers, employees, audiences, and MBA students when I share these evidence-based management techniques. They make sense, they are simple to understand, and they work in the private and public sectors. Armed with these new tools, managers have been able to boost employee performance significantly and execute desired strategies for their teams with noteworthy success. Good management always requires a lot of hard work and sustained effort, but once evidence-based techniques are mastered, it also can become fun, because employees respond so well to this approach. With employees inspired and engaged, managers don’t have to battle to get desired results: They just happen. Managers can actually enjoy the process of leading others because they know what they’re supposed to be doing, and because their efforts bring tangible results.
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