Resources for Managers


​What do two-thirds of all entrepreneurs, 55 percent of all Supreme Court justices and 64 percent of people listed in Who's Who have in common? They're all firstborns, the first or only children in their families. Being a firstborn child doesn't guarantee success, but it is a strong indicator of it, and the reasons behind that fact have implications for business, says Thomas K. Connellan in Bringing Out the Best in Others! (Bard Press, 2003). Firstborns tend to succeed because their parents raise them differently from other kids, Connellan says. The reason: Their parents have more positive expectations of them, give them more responsibility earlier and provide more feedback. Applying those three parental behaviors to their management style can help managers get better performance from employees, he says.

The book's conversational style uses a fictionalized training session with five people from the worlds of sales, health care, manufacturing, education and parenting based on Connellan's actual clients and authentic problems. The session takes readers through the steps of fostering responsibility and accountability, setting clear goals that everyone understands, establishing accountability without blame, developing specific action plans for reaching goals and getting employees involved and engaged in identifying goals and measuring progress.

Feedback takes three forms: motivational, informational and developmental. Motivational feedback validates employees' efforts but "is not about hearts and flowers and just being nice to people," Connellan notes. It's about making employees want to keep doing what they're doing. This positive feedback should be immediate, specific and continuous. Informational feedback provides data about performance and should relate to the employee's specific goals. Developmental feedback, especially for employees who are having problems, requires managers to learn to ask the right questions about what the issues are and how the employee can help with solutions.

Even if you're not engaged in global management, The Global Diversity Desk Reference, by Lee Gardenswartz, Anita Rowe, Patricia Digh and Martin Bennett (Pfeiffer, 2003), offers management tips for those with a diverse workforce. This book offers advice, analytical tools and exercises on global management to help managers prevent losing good job candidates due to miscommunications in job interviews, as well as business losses when global team members tussle over whether team harmony matters more than surfacing and resolving differences.

The Global Diversity Desk Reference guides users through cultural minefields, detailing how the meaning of diversity has changed over the years and how national, organizational and individual styles affect everything from performance reviews to conference calls. The book, which provides a companion CD-ROM, includes:

  • The "Six Spheres of Inclusion," the authors' model for examining how factors such as national identification and corporate culture affect both organizational and personal encounters.
  • Discussion of the legal implications of global diversity.
  • A global performance management audit to help users examine how well their performance systems really work.
  • Advice on communicating effectively across cultures, such as a guide to nonverbal communication issues—like eye contact and "personal space"—and tips on how to use translators.
  • An examination of how culture affects international teams, such as when one country's team members value group harmony while another country's members value airing differences.
  • Ideas for using e-mail, videoconferences, conference calls and other technologies courteously and effectively.
  • Techniques for solving problems in international organizations, including cultural adaptability exercises and tools to identify roadblocks to problem-solving.

The woman just didn't believe David Bach, no matter how often he told her she could not buy an individual retirement account. She swore that she had "bought an IRA" each year for the past decade. Bach, an author and financial seminar leader, eventually convinced her that she hadn't bought any IRAs but had only invested in them. Her ignorance about how IRAs work had cost her money. That story illustrates why Bach wants readers to learn 1001 Financial Words You Need to Know (Oxford University Press, 2003). The sooner you understand what the terms mean, he says, the sooner you can start saving, making and moving money effectively.

This book is a dictionary of financial terms salted with pithy sidebars on financial topics including how to determine if you have a credit card problem, decide what insurance you need and understand your credit rating. Bach also explains the "latte factor" that shows how the $3.50 spent daily on a latte could turn into tens of thousands of dollars if invested instead. An item on the top 10 "money mistakes" nails speculation, credit card debt and 30-year mortgages as among the chief culprits sucking up money. A guide to choosing a financial adviser includes questions to ask and tips on checking advisers' backgrounds.

The bulk of the book is the dictionary with brief definitions and examples of usage. Some terms, like IRA, are familiar but might be misunderstood as the IRA "buyer" found. Other terms are new and unfamiliar, such as "Patriot bond," a specially inscribed savings bond, first issued in late 2001, that allows investors to "show their support for the nation's antiterrorism efforts."

Terms of Use: Advice for Supervisors from the Society for Human Resource Management © 2004 Society for Human Resource Management. Members of SHRM are authorized to distribute copies, excerpts or e-mails of this information for educational purposes internally within their organizations. No other republication or external use is allowed without permission of SHRM. The information is not intended to serve as a substitute for legal advice.

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