Brian Tracy on Management: A book review by Bob Morris

Management TracyManagement
Brian Tracy
AMACOM (2014)

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker

This is one of the volumes in The Brian Tracy Success Library. Thus far, the others focus on motivation, negotiation, time management, and leadership, all published by AMACOM. Tracy has already written one or more books of greater length and depth that examine these and other major business subjects. What he has now done with each of the volumes in the series is to condense consummate skill the most valuable information, insights, and counsel within a 100-page format, in this instance the most valuable lessons he has learned about management.

Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers essentials that include how to delegate productively, eliminate distractions and concentrate attention on high-payoff activities, identify key result areas, hire and fire effectively, build a staff of peak performers, hold meetings that work, foster team spirit, communicate with clarity, set the right example, and make sound decisions quickly. He selected 21 specific subjects or themes and devotes a separate chapter to each. These are management capabilities that must be developed at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

I was especially interested in what he has to say about one especially important dimension of management: Building peak performers. According to Tracy, “Psychologists have identified seven key managerial behaviors or conditions that you can create to motivate [or inspire to self-motivate] the people under your direct control, in turn raising their self-esteem and increasing their performance.”

1. Challenge Them: “The number one desire of people in the workplace is work that is interesting, meaningful, and draws upon the very best talents they have. People want to feel challenged and full engaged in their work.”

2. Give Them Freedom: “People enjoy and appreciate having a maximum of freedom to do their jobs. Managers should constantly practice giving each individual as much freedom as possible to achieve an agreed-upon goal.

Note: In 1924, William L. McKnight (then chairman and CEO of 3M), observed, “If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need.”

3. Give Them Respect: “People have a great need to be respected by other people whose opinions they value, especially their bosses. Employees need to be able to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns to their boss — and they need to feel that the boss genuinely respects their ideas, whether or not the boss accepts or agrees with them.”

4. The Friendship Factor: “People like to work for and with others they think care about them as individuals. You express warmth when you ask people for their opinions or judgment. You convey warmth to your staff members when you talk to them and ask them questions about non-work issues, such as sports and hobbies.”

5. Keep in Touch: “Assigning someone a job and then forgetting about it is much more demoralizing to that person than if you give an assignment and then regularly check in with the worker. The more you check on the performance of a person completing an assigned task, the more that person feels that the job is important — and, therefore, the person is important as well.” But careful not to hover. There is a world of difference between being interested and being concerned.

6. Let Them Win: “Whenever you assign tasks that your employees can do well, and then they complete them, they have a success experience and feel like winners.”

7. Expect the Best: This is one of the most powerful of all tools and techniques to raise self-esteem and self-confidence in others. When you express confidence in your staff members, they will usually do everything possible to show you that you are right.”

And here’s his final thought in Chapter Nine: “Make it clear that you believe in your people. Tell them that you believe in them. Even if you are not quite sure, pretend a little. Your positive expectations of other people will seldom lead to improvement.”

I presume to add a thought of my own: The best managers have self-discipline sufficient to managing themselves effectively. Only then can they manage can they earn others respect and trust and only then can they manage them effectively.

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This brief sample is representative of the quality of information, insights, and counsel that Brian Tracy provides throughout the entire volume. Bravo!

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help as many people as possible to achieve their personal and business goals faster and easier than they ever imagined. To learn more about him and his work, please click here.

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