Skip to main content

Managing to Make a Difference: How to Engage, Retain, and Develop Talent for Maximum Performance



Managing to Make a Difference: How to Engage, Retain, and Develop Talent for Maximum Performance

Larry Sternberg, Kim Turnage

ISBN: 978-1-119-33178-0 April 2017 320 Pages


A practical, real-world training manual for mid-level management

Managing to Make a Difference presents a leadership guide for those in the middle. The C-suite has a wealth of resources for leadership guidance, but middle managers face a quandary: often given little guidance on how to excel, they are also under enormous pressure to do a variety of things other than "lead." This book provides much-needed tools and techniques for building a high-performing team—without letting your other duties suffer. Organized around a coherent philosophy and based on solid research, the discussion offers a roadmap to engagement, talent development, and excellence in management. From difficult situations and organizational challenges to everyday motivation and inspiration, these techniques help middle managers achieve the goals of their organization while empowering their workers to achieve their own.

Talent development is probably not your full-time job—yet it drives the engagement that results in high performance. This book shows you how to hit the "sweet spot" of middle management, with a host of tools and strategies to help you help your team shine.

  • Motivate, inspire, and lead your team with confidence
  • Manage through challenges and overcome obstacles
  • Develop key talent and maintain high engagement
  • Adopt practical management tools based on substantiated research

Most organizations direct the majority of their development resources to the C-suite, but still expect their mid-level managers to attract, engage, retain, and develop talent; but successfully juggling everyday duties while maintaining team performance and leading around roadblocks leaves little room for management planning. Managing to Make a Difference offers the solution in the form of tools, techniques, and practical strategy for a high performing team.

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

SECTION I Cultivate Positive Relationships 1

Chapter 1 Relationships Create Opportunities to Make a Difference 3

Chapter 2 Get to Know Your Employees 7

Chapter 3 Go Ahead, Get Close to Your People 11

Chapter 4 Accept People as They Are 17

Chapter 5 Tolerate Undesirable Behaviors 21

Chapter 6 Make People Significant 25

Chapter 7 Prioritize One-on-Ones 31

Chapter 8 Don’t Make Relationship Conflicts Worse 37

Chapter 9 Apologize 43

Chapter 10 Forgive 47

Chapter 11 Cultivate a Great Relationship with Your Boss 51

Chapter 12 Embrace the Ebb and Flow of Relationships 55

SECTION II Accelerate People’s Growth 59

Chapter 13 Abandon the “Follow Shirley” Method 61

Chapter 14 Help People Self-Actualize 65

Chapter 15 Coach to Improve Performance 71

Chapter 16 Optimize Fit 75

Chapter 17 Set the Right Expectations 79

Chapter 18 Ask the Right Questions 83

Chapter 19 Kick Butt the Right Way 85

SECTION III Maximize Engagement and Motivation 87

Chapter 20 Emphasize the Why 89

Chapter 21 Meet People’s Needs 91

Chapter 22 Don’t Sit on Good People 97

Chapter 23 Resist the Temptation to Seize Control 101

Chapter 24 Empower Your People 105

Chapter 25 Harness Discretionary Effort 115

Chapter 26 Solicit Volunteers for Unpopular Tasks 119

Chapter 27 Create a Sense of Urgency 121

Chapter 28 Set Challenging Goals 123

Chapter 29 Be Unreasonably Optimistic 125

SECTION IV Build Extraordinary Teams 127

Chapter 30 Recruit Continuously 129

Chapter 31 Bet on Talent 133

Chapter 32 Ensure the Right Fit 139

Chapter 33 Match the Right People to the Right Training 141

Chapter 34 Delegate to the Right People 145

Chapter 35 Ask for Commitment 149

Chapter 36 Invest Your Time with Top Performers 151

Chapter 37 Conduct Occasional Team-Building Events 153

Chapter 38 Advance from Team to Family 157

Chapter 39 Avoid the Peter Principle 159

Chapter 40 Don’t Lead People On 163

Chapter 41 Sometimes Firing Someone Is the Caring Thing to Do 167

Chapter 42 Never Badmouth Top Performers Who Resign 171

Chapter 43 Don’t Always Take the Easy Way Out 173

SECTION V Shape Your Culture 177

Chapter 44 Focus on the Right Things 179

Chapter 45 Exemplify Cultural Values in Employee Orientation 181

Chapter 46 Welcome and Integrate New Team Members 183

Chapter 47 Adjust to Accommodate New Employees 187

Chapter 48 Curate Your Organization’s Folklore 189

Chapter 49 Enliven Cultural Values and Expectations 193

Chapter 50 Provide Frequent, Candid Feedback 197

Chapter 51 Shape a Culture of Recognition and Appreciation 201

Chapter 52 Emotionally Rehire People 209

Chapter 53 Celebrate Personal and Professional Accomplishments 213

Chapter 54 Ask, “How Can I Help?” 215

Chapter 55 Encourage Employees to Have Fun 217

Chapter 56 Address Poor Performance 219

Chapter 57 Address Bad Behavior 223

Chapter 58 Exert Moral Authority 227

Chapter 59 Rise Above the Politics 231

Chapter 60 Don’t Chase Hearsay, Rumors, or Gossip 235

Chapter 61 Speak Positively about Those Not Present 237

SECTION VI Embrace Change 239

Chapter 62 Embrace Uncertainty, Be Confident, Instill Hope 241

Chapter 63 Encourage Suggestions: Have an Appetite for New Ideas 243

Chapter 64 Don’t Strive for 100 Percent Buy-In 247

Chapter 65 Take Action on Legacy Employees 251

Chapter 66 Replace Employees Who Are Blocking Change 255

Chapter 67 Overcommunicate During a Management Transition 257

Chapter 68 Prepare for the Unknowable Future 259

SECTION VII Invest in Your Own Growth 261

Chapter 69 Develop Yourself 263

Chapter 70 Define What Success Means to You 265

Chapter 71 Spend More Time on the 20 267

Chapter 72 Build Your Strengths 271

Chapter 73 If You Have Been Newly Promoted, Just Take Charge 273

Chapter 74 If You Feel Trapped in Your Job, Change Something 275

Chapter 75 Take Steps to Fit in on a New Job 279

Chapter 76 Hire Some People Who Can Replace You 281

Chapter 77 Find a Mentor 283

Chapter 78 Become a Better Mentee 285

Chapter 79 Express Your Gratitude 289

Notes 291

About the Authors 295

Index 297