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As a manager, you often need to analyze the ideas of others as well as effectively convey your
own thoughts and insights. Managers also need to stay current with management approaches and
literature. This book, â??First-Time Manager 6th editionâ? by Belker, McCormick and
Topchick, assignment will provide you the opportunity to expand your management horizon
and sharpen your communication skills.
Carefully proofread your written assignment (formatted as a Word document) prior to
submitting. While writing styles vary, most students will need 3000-3500 words (typically 4-5
single-spaced typewritten pages) to fully address all the required aspects with the expected level
of depth required for this assignment. Your grade on this assignment will be determined by the
content, organization, originality, and clarity of your writing. I also strongly encourage you to
refer to the grading guidelines listed below to help clarify expectations of what Iâ??ll be looking for
in your Module 4 assignment â?? if you have questions, let me know.
Written assignment will be graded according to the following guidelines:
Proper use of titles and section headings (worth 10 points)
An opening executive summary paragraph that highlights the main points of your overall
analysis (worth 15 points). Note: this executive summary should not â??previewâ? what you
will be covering in your paper, but instead, concisely state the key points of your analysis
(and then the rest of your paper will provide more expanded discussion of those key
points). See the example below for additional guidance on how to write an effective
Brief discussion of the authorâ??s main thesis and key ideas (worth 10 points)
Analysis of how the book relates to the field of management and how well the authorâ??s main
arguments fit 4-5 of the specific theories and/or management concepts discussed in your
textbook. This is a very important part of your analysis, as it will demonstrate to me your
understanding of, and ability to apply, the theories and concepts weâ??ve covered this month.
You will likely identify lots more than 4-5 connections while you are reading your book…but
for purposes of this assignment, choose 4-5 and provide a in-depth, well supported analysis
of those 4-5 issues…don’t just offer a cursory overview of 10 connections without any real
substance or depth (worth 30 points)
Discussion of your personal reaction to the book, how your reactions and insights were
similar to (or different from) your classmates and what you learned from discussing the book
with your classmates (worth 20 points)
Concluding paragraph that offers closure to the reader and re-affirms (but doesnâ??t just
restate) the key ideas of your overall analysis (worth 5 points)
Overall quality/clarity of writing that reflects careful proofreading and minimal (if any)
errors in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure (worth 10 points)
Tips for Writing an Effective Executive Summary: In the U.S. business community, readers of
reports, memos, etc. expect to be able to quickly identify the writerâ??s key points. So an
executive summary is a critical part of any business writing, and may be structured differently
from the writing style youâ??re most accustomed to using. This executive summary (which should
be the first paragraph of your paper) should clearly and concisely highlight all the key arguments
of your paper, so that if a person only read this paragraph, he/she would understand all your key
points. Do not make this a “preview paragraph” — that is, do not write it like this: “first I will
tell you about the author’s main ideas, then I’ll tell you about how some of those ideas connect to
the theories in the textbook, then I’ll finish by telling you what I thought about the book and what
I learned from discussing the book with my classmates”. In the world of business, we are
impatient readers who don’t want suspense…so that ‘preview’ approach offers no real value to the
business reader. Instead, structure your opening paragraph to offer real value to the reader and
convey your own ‘voice’, providing something like: “Initially I dreaded having to read The First
Time Manager as I expected it to be a dull book, with little practical value. Instead, the author’s
key arguments were interesting, practical, and helped me better understand the theories and
concepts in the textbook. By offering real life examples of active listening, situational leadership
theory, and much more, the authors of First Time Manager confirmed the challenge of trying to
effectively motivate and lead others. Discussing the book with my classmates also helped
highlight the need for a manager to be self-aware and open to continuous improvement. My
initial dread of reading the book has turned into motivation for putting into practice the advice
provided by the authors. I also have a new-found appreciation for the challenges managers face,
and a desire to strengthen my own managerial capabilities.” That type of opening paragraph
provides a brief summary of your main insights and hopefully entices the reader to want to read
more about each of those key insights. While this opening summary paragraph should be the
first part of your paper, you’ll find it much easier if you actually write this summary AFTER
you’ve written the rest of the paper.
Loren B. Belker
Gary S. Topchik
Bulk discounts available. For details visit:
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View all the AMACOM titles at: www.amacombooks.org
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in
regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the
publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service.
If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent
professional person should be sought.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Belker, Loren B.
The first-time manager/Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, and Gary S. Topchik. â??
1. Supervision of employees. 2. Office management. I. McCormick, Jim. II. Topchik,
Gary S. III. Title.
Â© 2012, 2005, 1997, 1993, 1986, and 1981 AMACOM, a division of American
Management Association, New York.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in
whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division
of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
American Management Association (www.amanet.org) is a world leader in talent
development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. Our
mission is to support the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete
range of products and services, including classroom and virtual seminars, webcasts,
webinars, podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books,
and research. AMAâ??s approach to improving performance combines experiential
learningâ??learning through doingâ??with opportunities for ongoing professional
growth at every step of oneâ??s career journey.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Preface to the Sixth Edition
SO YOUâ??RE GOING TO MANAGE PEOPLE
The Road to Management
Building Trust and Confidence
Show Your Appreciation
Being an Active Listener
The New Managerâ??s Job and Pitfalls to Avoid
Dealing with Your Superiors
Choosing a Managerial Style of Your Own
TACKLING YOUR NEW DUTIES
Building a Team Dynamic
Managing Problem Employees
Hiring and Interviewing
Training Team Members
Managing Change: Dealing with Resistance
Disciplining the Employee
â??Oh My God! I Canâ??t Fire Anyone!â?
Having a Legal Awareness
WORKING WITH PEOPLE, BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, AND
17. No Secrets
18. The Human Resources Department
19. The Current State of Loyalty
20. Is There Such a Thing as Motivation?
21. Understanding Risk Inclination
22. Encouraging Initiative and Innovation
23. Improving Outcomes
24. The Generation Gap
JOB DESCRIPTIONS, PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS, AND SALARY
25. Writing Job Descriptions
26. Doing Performance Appraisals
27. Salary Administration
IMPROVING AND DEVELOPING YOURSELF
Having Emotional Intelligence
Developing a Positive Self-Image
Managing Your Own Time
The Written Word
Your Best Friend: Delegation
A Sense of Humor
Managing, Participating in, and Leading Meetings
Taking Center Stage: The Role of Public Speaking in Your Career
THE COMPLETE PERSON
37. Coping with Stress
38. Having Balance in Your Life
39. A Touch of Class
To all managers who aspire to advance
their skills for the benefit of themselves
and those they lead.
Preface to the Sixth Edition
AMACOM Books approached me
about updating it. Upon reading this classic, I arrived at four conclusions. The first
was that this book is a fantastic resource that has clearly helped countless new
managers. The second was that it would be impossible for people to read this book and
not improve their ability to manage well, regardless of how long they have been
managing. The third was that I would have thoroughly enjoyed sitting down with
Loren Belker and Gary Topchik because both our philosophies of management and our
general approaches to life are so well aligned. My final conclusion was that improving
this extraordinary resource would be a daunting challenge. I felt as though I was being
asked to polish an already brilliant gem.
Having never had the opportunity to meet Loren or Gary led me to feel an even
greater obligation to bring their work forward respectfully, add some new insights, and
not diminish the value they have provided by their writings. To paraphrase Sir Isaac
Newton, if I have provided value â??it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.â?
MY FIRST EXPOSURE TO THIS BOOK WAS WHEN
I have encountered and observed
throughout my career. Their skills have ranged from extraordinary to horrendous,
though I have learned from all of them. To the team members I have had the privilege
to lead I say thank you. You have all been sources of enjoyment and learning. To the
aspiring managers I have had the opportunity to teach, I applaud you for your thirst for
knowledge. Thank you to my editor, Christina Parisi, for entrusting me with the legacy
that is this book. And finally, I thank my agent, Maryann Karinch, who knows my
skills better than I.
I WOULD LIKE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE MANAGERS
BY OPENING THIS BOOK,
you have set yourself apart and made the clear statement that
you desire to improve your management ability. This book was created for you and to
assist you in that effort.
Just as you cannot lead a parade if no one is following, you cannot manage if you
donâ??t have a team to lead. Engrained in this book is the belief that a well-led team will
always achieve results that are superior to those of an individual. Consistent with that
conviction, this book has been written by a team. Three of us have taken up the
challengeâ??at different times and in our own waysâ??of seeking to provide you with
the best guidance we can muster for a new manager. The results of this joint effort are
better because of our collaboration. The same will be true for you if you take to heart
the insights you will discover in this book.
Summarizing thousands of words and hundreds of pieces of advice is nearly
impossible. If forced to summarize, we believe the advice in this book centers around
two overarching messages: be thoughtful in your actions and always conduct yourself
with class. You will never regret either.
So Youâ??re Going to Manage People
Welcome to the exciting and challenging role of manager. Being successful is about
valuing, understanding, and guiding the most complex of all systemsâ??people. You
will find it more of an art than a science and potentially more rewarding than anything
you have ever done.
The Road to Management
that individuals become managers.
Unfortunately, many companies donâ??t go through a very thorough process in
choosing those who will be moved into a managerial position. Often the judgment is
based solely on how well the person is performing in his or her current position. The
best individual contributor doesnâ??t always make the best manager, although many
companies still make the choice on that basis. The theory is that successful past
performance is the best indicator of future success. However, management skills are
very different from the skills one needs to succeed as an individual contributor.
So the fact that an employee is a good performer, even though he or she
demonstrates a pattern of success, doesnâ??t necessarily mean the person will be a
successful manager. Being a manager requires skills beyond those of being an
excellent technician. Managers need to focus on people, not just tasks. They need to
rely on others, not just be self-reliant. Managers are also team-oriented and have a
broad focus, whereas nonmanagers succeed by having a narrow focus and being
detail-oriented. In many ways, transitioning from the role of an individual contributor
to a manager is similar to the difference between being a technician and being an
artist. The manager is an artist because management is often nuanced and subjective. It
involves a different mindset.
THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS
Management Is Not for Everyone
Some companies have management-training programs. These programs vary from
excellent to horrible. Too often, the program is given to people who already have been
in managerial positions for a number of years. Even experienced managers
periodically should be given refresher courses in management style and techniques. If
a training program has any merit, however, it should be given to individuals who are
being considered for management positions. The training program will not only help
them avoid mistakes, it also gives trainees the opportunity to see whether they will be
comfortable leading others. A management training program that helps potential
managers decide that they are not suited for management has done both the
prospective managers and the organization they are a part of a great favor.
Unfortunately, far too many organizations still use the â??sink or swimâ? method of
management training. All employees who move into supervisory positions must figure
it out on their own. This method assumes that everyone intuitively knows how to
manage. They donâ??t. Managing people is crucial to the success of any organization;
but in too many cases, it is left to chance. Anyone who has worked for any length of
time has observed situations where a promotion didnâ??t work out and the person asked
for the old job back. The well-known saying, â??Be careful what you wish for, because
you just might get itâ? comes to mind. In many companies, the opportunities for
promotion are limited if you donâ??t go into management. As a result, some people go
into management who shouldnâ??t be thereâ??and they wouldnâ??t want to be in
management if other opportunities existed for salary increases and promotion.
A series of management seminars was conducted for one company that used an
enlightened approach to the problem of moving the wrong people into management.
Everyone under potential consideration for a first-line management position was
invited to attend an all-day seminar on what is involved in the management of people.
Included were some simple but typical management problems. When these candidates
were invited to attend, they were told by the company, â??If after attending this seminar
you decide that the management of people is not something you want to do, just say
so. That decision will in no way affect other nonmanagement promotion possibilities
or future salary decisions in your current position.â?
Approximately five hundred people attended these seminars, and approximately
twenty percent decided they did not want to move into management. After getting a
brief taste of management, approximately one hundred people knew they would not
make good managers, but they were still valuable employees. Far too many people
accept management promotions because they feel (often rightly so) that they will be
dead-ended if they reject the promotion.
The Omnipotent One
Some people believe that if you want something done right, youâ??d better do it yourself.
People with this attitude rarely make good leaders or managers because they have
difficulty delegating responsibility. Everyone has seen these people: They delegate
only those trivial tasks that anyone could perform, and anything meaningful they keep
for themselves. As a result, they work evenings and weekends and take a briefcase
home as well. There is nothing wrong with working overtime. Most people
occasionally must devote some extra time to the job, but those who follow this pattern
as a way of life are poor managers. They have so little faith in their team members that
they trust them with only trivial tasks. What they are really saying is that they donâ??t
know how to properly train their people.
There is often a staff turnover problem in a team with this kind of manager. The
employees are usually more qualified than the â??omnipotent oneâ? believes and they
soon tire of handling only trivia.
You probably know of an omnipotent one in your own organization. It is a problem
if youâ??re working for one, because youâ??ll have a difficult time being promoted. Caught
up in your impossible situation, youâ??re not given anything important to do. As a result,
you never get a chance to demonstrate your abilities. Omnipotent ones seldom give out
recommendations for promotion. They are convinced that the reason they must do all
the work is that their staff doesnâ??t accept responsibility. They can never admit that it is
because they refuse to delegate. The trap of becoming an omnipotent one is being
emphasized because you donâ??t want to allow yourself to fall into this mode of
One other unvarying trait of omnipotent ones is that they seldom take their
vacations all at once. They take only a couple days off at a time because they are
certain the company canâ??t function longer than that without them. Before going on
vacation, they will leave specific instructions as to what work is to be saved until their
return. In some situations, theyâ??ll leave a phone number where they can be reached in
an emergency. Of course, they define what the emergency might be. The omnipotent
one even complains to family and friends, â??I canâ??t even get away from the problems at
work for a few days without being bothered.â? What omnipotent ones donâ??t say is that
this is exactly the way they want it because it makes them feel important. For some
omnipotent managers, their retirement years are demolished because retirement means
an end to their dedication to the job, their perceived indispensability, and possibly their
reason for living.
The Chosen Few
Sometimes, people are chosen to head a function because theyâ??re related to or have an
â??inâ? with the boss. Consider yourself fortunate if you do not work for this type of
company. Even if you are related to the boss, itâ??s very difficult to assume additional
responsibility under these circumstances. You doub …
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