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People skills matter

Monday, November 15, 2010


6 Habits of Highly Effective Bosses by Stephen E. Kohn and Vincent D. O’Connell is a distillation of 50 years of combined experience of helping companies resolve ‘people problems’ in the workplace. Stephen E. Kohn was a pioneer in the field of executive coaching and has been a management coach, counsellor and therapist for over 25 years. Vincent D. O’Connell has been in the field of behavioural sciences and healthcare for over 27 years.

This book addresses the following questions:
  • What are people skills?
  • How do individuals get better at the ‘people’ part of management?
  • How can individuals’ best focus their time and efforts while working at becoming   
     better managers of people?

We get relevant and cogent answers to these questions, with apt directions and viable solutions about how to actually build and practice people skills. The book points out to what aptitudes matter most and how to develop them with greater efficiency.
At the outset, the first need is to put people first, so that there is an environment with employees fully motivated and ready to work to their fullest potential. When excellent relationships exist between supervisors and staff in day-to-day individual and group interactions, when employees admire the way they are being led, work becomes a highly dynamic activity, far transcending that of merely receiving the extrinsic reward in the form of a paycheque.

The warning signs which indicate that people management competencies are not in place are:

  • Higher than average turnover. ‘People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their
  • managers.’
  • Difficulty filling open positions from within.
  • An increase in the quantity and/or severity of disputes that HR is called upon to mediate.
  • Performance reviews are challenged.
  • Company policies and procedures are side-stepped because certain departments and/or their heads are deemed difficult to work with.
  • Schisms or cliques are evident within a department.
  • Other warning signs are bad feedback about a manager or leadership, formal accusations of verbal or sexual harassment, a manager losing his/her temper and creating a scene, a manager getting sidetracked by personal problems.

Problems recur because:

  • Managers compromise their authority through bad judgement, inappropriate behaviour,or ambiguous limits in interpersonal relationships at work.
  • Managers alienate people through their frustrated reactions to below-par performance, by intolerant or hurtful criticism, damaging the morale and team spirit of their subordinates.

The next 160 pages of this 222 page book expand upon and explain in very readable detail the six habits of wonderfully effective bosses and the advantages that we too would enjoy in life and in career if we were to adopt them in our workplace:

  • Expanding self-awareness
  • Practicing empathy
  • Following the ‘Golden Rule’ principles
  • Maintaining proper boundaries
  • Criticising artfully
  • Flexing to different people styles

Excellent and invaluable pointers to ensure better interaction at the workplace, in business and also at home.

6 Habits of Highly Effective Bosses by Stephen E. Kohn and Vincent D. O’Connell

Jaico Publishing House
Price Rs.250



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