May 9, 2011 | last updated June 1, 2012 10:08 am
BIZ BOOKS

Book offers some clues on feedback that works

"Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success with the Team You Have … " by Sean O'Neil and John Kulisek (BenBella Books, $14.95).

Tired of the beat-around-the-bush, wishy-washy, walk-on-eggs approach to management that prevails in our politically-correct workplace? Replace it with common-sense, straightforward communication tailored to the personality types on your team.

The strongest link in the communication chain is feedback: "giving feedback is for your benefit, not that of the feedback recipients." Think about it; whatever your staff does well, or doesn't do well, affects the overall productivity of your department — and your performance review. Letting poor performance slide, because you don't like conflict, reduces your productivity. Similarly, not handing out I-appreciate-your-contribution "attaboys" to those doing well may cause them to ease up on the gas.

The bulk of the book provides advice on how to manage, and in some cases work around, 16 personality types covering four categories: Starting Five, Utility Players, Bench Warmers and Trading Block Candidates. Here's a look at a few of the good fits and misfits on every team:

• The Legend (Starting Five): They've been around the block several times. They know everyone — so they can cut through red tape quickly. Legends self-manage and deliver consistent results.

But getting them to change the way they work and share their knowledge is difficult. How do you do it? "I could use your help" flattery. Get them involved in training delivery. This provides the opportunity to showcase their skills and exposes them to new ways of getting things done (as opposed to new ways of doing things). The training aspect can extend to mentoring, too.

• The Noodler (Utility Player): They're a team's version of Ask.com, but nowhere near as fast. You can count on them to delve into details — some important, others superfluous. You have to work at keeping Noodlers on deadline because they suffer from paralysis analysis. How? Pair them with staff with solid project management skills and the ability to juggle priorities.

• Needy Ned (Benchwarmer): Ned needs a shepherd because he's not a critical thinker. He always seeks confirmation and affirmation. Ned thrives on following procedures, so don't throw him into a trail-breaking assignment. Provide "I know you can do this" encouragement coupled with someone (but not you) who can help Ned role play.

By tweaking your management style to fit the personalities of your team, you'll become a better boss.

• • •

"Get Rich Click! The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on the Internet" by Mark Ostrofsky (Razor Media Group, $19.95).

The standard model for the 1849 California gold rush was mining for gold and changing it into currency. Most miners went broke — but those selling picks and shovels made fortunes. One of Ostrofsky's Internet business models focuses on picks and shovels in the form of services businesses need to increase the effectiveness of their Web presence.

These services include advertising placement, providing bandwidth, measuring customer satisfaction, lead generation, teaching others about the use of social media and data analysis. To enter any of these high-profit areas, you need expertise, money and time.

Another model is "sell it before you buy it." Go to the local flea market and take photos of various items offered by vendors; note prices and talk with the vendors about ongoing availability. Write some ad copy about each item and post it for sale on eBay and Craigslist at a mark up. See what products sell. Collect the money, buy the item from the vendor and fulfill the order. You have "virtual inventory" that changes over time and no carrying costs.

Ostrofsky discusses other models and emphasizes that "get rich click" doesn't mean "get rich quick." Do your homework by investigating the numerous Websites referenced.

Jim Pawlak is a nationally syndicated book reviewer.

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