The Gifted Boss : How to Find, Create and Keep Great Employees

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9780688168773: The Gifted Boss : How to Find, Create and Keep Great Employees

“Whether you’re a manager trying to hire or hold on to your best talent, or an employee who always hoped to have work be more than just another job, this little book can bring you closer to your dream.”
—Bob Nelson, author of 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and 1001 Ways to Energize Employees

Revised and updated, here is the groundbreaking “bible” on how to manage successful employees from Dale Dauten, one of America’s most innovative business consultants. A classic business “how-to” book, The Gifted Boss is an important business tool to help you find, create, and keep great employees—an indispensible guide to increasing workplace synergy and, ultimately, productivity from the internationally renowned management guru and founder of The Innovators’ Lab.

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Review:

Piles of books come out every year on how to be a better boss, but few go beyond platitudes to provide vivid, real-life pictures of excellent bosses in action. Not so with The Gifted Boss, in which business columnist Dale Dauten not only tells how extraordinary bosses differ from ordinary ones but actually shows what these bosses look like on the job. Through anecdotes and extended quotes from bosses at dozens of companies, both the well known (Porsche, LensCrafters, Wendy's, and IDG Books) and the obscure (small and midsize businesses in Arizona where Dauten lives), he humanizes the problem in an entertaining yet practical manner.

Gifted bosses distinguish themselves from the pack, according to Dauten, by not just hiring employees but by "courting" and ultimately "acquiring allies"; by making their organizations or even just their department as "the best place for the best people to work"; by emphasizing standards (and leaving one's employees free to figure out how to meet those standards themselves) over rules and procedures; and by trusting employees to find their own answers to problems rather than spend one's days putting out brushfires for everyone.

To wit, we hear stories of bosses like Dan Schweiker, CEO of China Mist Tea, who, when he first started the company, told experienced salespeople who defected to him, "I'm not going to try to tell you what to do. We're hiring you to learn from you." (He also replaced the conference room table with a pool table!) Or an army general who chucked the weighty military procedure book and told his troops to figure out how to prepare for battle one minute faster than the standardized process... and outline it on one page. (And they did just that.) Or IDG head John Kilcullen (the brains behind the Dummies series of books), who wooed someone to be his finance czar by playing golf with him... even though Kilcullen didn't play golf and showed up in jeans.

The Gifted Bossis told in a sort of novelistic form, in which the first-person narrator, a corporate middle-manager stuck in a "glass rut," is regaled with stories by an eccentric but nonetheless warm, wise, and funny old sage named Max Elmore. If that narrative device sounds a bit cloying, it is. (Max, according to the author's acknowledgements, is based on a true-life mentor, a retired professor.) Still, that's a small price to pay for a book with not only smart and bracing ideas on how to be a truly A-1 boss, but a genuine wealth of vivid, sometimes touching stories to show what those ideas look like in the real world. --Timothy Murphy

From the Back Cover:

Good business begins with a good boss -- and the truly gifted ones know that their future depends on creating first-rate employees: the kind of men and women they can teach and trust. Reliable, able, ambitious people who respond to guidance rather than requiring supervision or micro-management, and who understand that real success is shared by everyone from the senior manager to the most junior member of the team.

In this priceless business parable, Dale Dauten turns to an eccentric management sage in search of experienced advice on how to become a true leader with the skill and insight to attract and recruit exceptional employees and help them reach their full potential. Filled with prescriptive illustrations, subtle suggestions, and engaging, enlightening anecdotes from well-known managers and CEOs of major companies, this wise, wide-ranging book is entertaining and important reading for anyone who hopes to be an effective boss, able to help every talented employee to excel and grow into a top performer.

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