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Leadership Books
Posted at 08:57 PM ET, 11/11/2011

Gary Latham’s ‘Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager’

Title: Becoming the Evidence-Based Manager : Making the Science of Management Work for You

Author: Gary P. Latham                               

Publisher: NB Publishing, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0891063988, 154 pages


Leadership by instinct might work in some cases with naturally charming, supportive managers. However, techniques that work for such intuitive executives won’t necessarily work for everyone else. In contrast, “evidence-based management” uses scientifically proven methods all managers can employ to help staff members reach their highest potential. At least that’s the premise organizational psychologist Gary P. Latham puts forth in this extremely well-thought-out, superbly organized management methodology for hiring, training, motivating and evaluating employees. While his evidence-based processes are all sound managerial tactics, you’ll see a strong resemblance to anecdotal approaches – only with better backing. getAbstract recommends this readable, practical handbook to anyone who manages other people.

Art versus science

A common misconception holds that good leadership skills are innate. Not so. Managing people is difficult, and instinct and experience do not provide all the answers. Unfortunately, many experts concentrate their advice on the art of management, offering counsel that doesn’t translate easily from one situation to another. However, the science of management, called “evidence-based management,” provides a set of skills you can learn, master and use across a variety of circumstances. Extensive research proves that these universal methods for hiring, coaching, motivating and evaluating employees deliver outstanding results. Scientifically, that means you can rely on the following six tested, evidence-based management lessons for lining up the right people, fulfilling your strategy, training, motivating, building workforce resiliency and coaching:

1. “Use the right tools to hire high-performing employees”

Without people who can perform superbly in a variety of situations in spite of daily difficulties and chaos, even well-crafted strategies will fail. Finding the best person for each job is not easy. Most interviewers conduct unstructured conversations and rely primarily on instinct to find people they like. This has several drawbacks: The questions vary from one applicant to another. It’s difficult to discern how candidates will perform on the job, and the employer has no universal method for evaluating responses or reaching an agreement about hiring someone or not. Instead, to select high-potential staffers, use these proven methods:

• “Situational interview” – With this format, interviewers present a hypothetical yet typical on-the-job dilemma and ask how candidates would deal with it. Every applicant answers the same questions. Prepare for situational interviews by enumerating the job’s responsibilities and talking with incumbents to identify scenarios an employee is likely to encounter in that position. Compose questions to measure how candidates would handle similar challenges. Create a scoring guide to assess the responses and to minimize the biases of hiring-committee members. Run a “pilot test” to ensure that the questions are fair, clear and effective.

• “Patterned behavioral interview” – Ask candidates how they acted in specific past situations. Their responses will provide a basis for predicting their future performance.

• “Job simulation” – This tactic gives you a preview of how applicants will handle job challenges. Use various methods to put candidates in work situations.

• “Realistic job preview” – Once you select a candidate, you’ll be tempted to sell the position to entice him or her to come onboard. Realistic previews describe a job’s positive and negative aspects. If the candidate still wants to join your firm after this candid review, you’ve found someone who is ready to make a long-term commitment…

Click here to read on and receive a free summary of this book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through November 23, 2011.)

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By Thomas Bergen and getAbstract  |  08:57 PM ET, 11/11/2011

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