Making Managers Great

What’s the difference between great companies and merely good companies, between people with stellar careers and those who struggle to meet minimum expectations, and between effective teams and lackluster teams? The answer, according to HR expert Paul Falcone, is the leadership edge. Building great teams and guiding them to success requires attentive and dynamic leaders.         

“Human resources starts with managers—front-line, in-the-trenches leaders who oversee the work of their teams day in and day out,” Falcone says.

In 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop and Keep Great Employees (Amacom, 2016), Falcone provides managers with tools to identify and select the right team members, foster growth and communication, and conduct difficult conversations effectively.  

Falcone has worked as an HR executive at Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Time Warner. He is the author of several best-selling books, including four that have made the Society for Human Resource Management’s “Great 8” annual list.

His new book is intended to help managers to:

Select and hire effectively by establishing a brand as an employer of choice, developing an interview strategy that “pierces the veil” of the candidate façade, closing the deal and onboarding to maximize success.

Communicate constructively with individuals and teams.

Establish written records to sustain employee accountability, from the best possible performance reviews to discipline documentation that works.

Avoid litigation land mines that could threaten the organization’s health.

Inspire employee engagement, from creating a foundation of motivation to leading when times get tough.

Falcone encourages line managers to maximize their relationship with their HR department, saying HR’s expertise “can be an important resource and an ally—both for strategic partnering on business issues as well as for confidential, off-the-record discussions.” He describes three key areas where managers should seek HR’s counsel:

Recruitment. The HR department can help managers avoid prematurely “giving away the farm” in terms of salary information, and it can help navigate the matter of internal equity by doing a compensation analysis before an employer extends a job offer.

Employee relations. HR can help managers deal with discipline problems and can make sure managers making termination and layoff decisions are acting within the scope of their responsibilities. Often, managers need a fresh perspective to assess a situation objectively.

Compensation. Managers should consult compensation experts from HR any time there is a need to discuss titles, merit increases, equity adjustments and promotions, Falcone recommends. HR not only can provide tips on what to say but also can propose alternatives that line managers might not have thought of. 

“Productivity, loyalty and performance are not things of the past,” Falcone writes, “but they are only possible when managers use their skills to motivate employees and instill a sense of accountability throughout the workforce.”

Read Falcone's latest column on SHRM online.


Originally posted on the SHRM Book Blog.



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