APWA Book Review

The Manager's Question and Answer Book
256 pp * 2003 * AMA * ISBN 0-81444-0758-7 * Florence M. Stone

If you are reading this column, you're probably a manager who wants to become more effective at overseeing the work of others. It doesn't matter whether you work for a small or a large organization, whether it's a public or a private business, whether you're on the lowest rung of the management ladder or the highest. You recognize how complex management is becoming today and how your ability to get work done by others can always be improved.

That is the purpose of The Manager's Question and Answer Book. The questions here reflect the information you need to be the best that you can be in your position. Assembled here you will find the most frequently-asked questions and practical, hands-on answers to help you excel in ten management skills. You can use this book in two ways. You can read it as you would any management book, discovering new information and adding to your existing knowledge, or you can use this book as a reference tool when problems arise on the job. The index and table of contents have been developed with just that purpose in mind. Every topic is clearly identified to help you find what you're looking for without searching through page after page to get the answer you need.

Either way you use this book, its contents should help you gain confidence and decrease stress in your role as a manager and improve productivity and job satisfaction—your own and your employees'. It will also help you demonstrate the skills, abilities and knowledge that senior management at your organization expects of you, and grow professionally.

With this book in your desk drawer, on your desk, or on your bookshelf, you will find your days are easier and superhuman demands of your position within your capability.

The lists of questions are divided into ten chapters:

  • Communicating with employees
  • Motivating individuals
  • Managing (even benefiting from) conflict
  • Running meetings
  • Finding, hiring, and keeping great people
  • Proactively and constructively managing employee performance
  • Taking fair, effective, and legal disciplinary measures
  • Building strong teams
  • Helping your department weather change
  • Managing your own work responsibilities, career path, and the delicate balance between your job and your personal life.
Each question is followed by a brief, clear answer. You can then consult the longer "tell me more" feature for more detailed examples, definitions, scenarios, and strategies for implementing the answer in specific situations.

For example, performance management, taken alone, is useless. One must be skilled in communication to provide constructive feedback and handle coaching and counseling interviews to get the best from employees. In addition to good conflict-resolution skills, you need a sense of trust between you and your employees—trust that comes with a sense of teamwork. Teambuilding demands that you hire the right people and motivate them to stay on. And given the time you spend in meetings, you need to know how to maximize the accomplishments of both operating and cross-function meetings. Together, these skills will make you a better leader, the touchstone of the superior manager.

Companies are demanding much more of their managers, and managers are becoming much more visible. As a manager in today's workplace, you must operate with optimum effectiveness and efficiency. The Manager's Question and Answer Book will help you do that.

For more information on purchasing this book and other American Public Works Association books, please visit the APWA Bookstore on-line at www.apwa.net or call the Member Services Hotline at 1-800-848-APWA (2792), ext. 3560.