The Tribune - Spectrum

, August 11, 2002

Short takes
Managing people
Jaswant Singh

Managing Difficult People
by Karen Mannering. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, New Delhi. Pages 127. Rs 125

Managing Difficult PeopleMAN management is an important aspect of a manager’s skills. Here is a handbook that describes how to cope with difficult people, situations and relationships at your workplace, whether the persons concerned are your superiors or your colleagues. It tells you how to see beyond a situation and try to understand why some people tend to behave in a difficult manner. This understanding will enable you to deal with the situation with confidence.

But the author, who is an experienced trainer of people in handling workplace situations, begins with a word of caution. People do not change easily, so can there be something like a "tool box" of techniques that would enable us to get the job done? Still, the author maintains that the ability to communicate and to enable others to complete tasks is a highly desirable skill. She is sure that anyone who works to acquire these attributes can look forward to a bright future.

The course she prescribes for acquiring this skill includes understanding difficult people, identifying their behaviour, difficult situations at work, dealing with difficult customers, working with difficult staff, colleagues and managers and handling difficult teams. Three case studies that run through the book, at the end of each chapter, illustrate how three different persons in different situations are finally able to get over their problems and achieve positive results.

The book will make useful reading for those who are in need of effective strategies to handle difficult people and their challenging behaviour.


Make Your Mission Statement Work
by Marianne Talbot. UBS Publishers’ distributors, New Delhi. Pages 126. Rs 125.

Make Your Mission Statement WorkMission statement is an organisation’s list of values that it upholds, the principles on which it acts and the standards it sets for itself and by which it is willing to be judged. Several successful business houses the world over have adopted this technique and project themselves with a mission statement and a commitment to uphold the values contained in it.

This book by a freelance writer, philosopher and consultant, gives a step-by-step description of how to write a mission statement identifying your cherished values. More important is the process of promoting these values. An effective mission statement, the author emphasises, helps every person in the organisation to live up to the values it expresses. Properly understood and implemented, a mission statement ensures that all members strive for the same principles and adhere to the same standards.

Some examples of mission statements illustrate the aims and objects of different organisations, how to achieve the objectives and the results expected from proper implementation of the statement, and the harm that can come from implementing it badly.

Powerful Business Speeches
by John Bowden. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, New Delhi. Pages 128. Rs 125.

Powerful Business SpeechesHere is a guide for executives who want to make their speeches effective and add value to them. The book makes a distinction between public speaking and professional speaking. A public speech, says the author, who is a successful manager and a lecturer in communication skills, is judged by the applause it draws from the audience. But the success of a professional speech depends on the extent to which it meets the objectives, or rather exceeds them. A public speaker’s aim is to give his audience what it wants, but a professional speaker gives his audience what it needs and it is important for him to be aware of this need.

The author addresses this book to executives who want to get results and effectively to motivate their workers, whatever the state of the business.

Before preparing a speech, the executive must weigh whether it is necessary, then put down precisely the result he wants and then be a catalyst to achieving it. The purpose of a business speech should be not to convince people that you are clever but to persuade them to believe that you are right. The focus should be on the desired outcome.

Overcoming Depression
by Dean Juniper. UBS Publishers’ Distributors, New Delhi. Pages 126. Rs 125.

Overcoming DepressionIn this age of frenzied competition in which market forces set the values, it is natural for individuals to be under increasing stresses of different kind. Such stresses are giving rise to psychological diseases such as depression. In this book, Juniper, who is an educational psychologist with a long association with mental health education, has given a framework of guidance for those who want to help themselves overcome the effects of psychological disturbance. The author has divided the book in two parts. The first explains what depression is, dispels intangible myths and casts a look at thoughts, sentiments and events that can lead to depression. The second part lists six steps that can help overcome depression.

The book contains 29 exercises spread over 10 "action sites" which a person encounters in a routine day. These exercises and other self-management tips and techniques may not be a complete answer to a person’s problems, but these can surely keep him motivated. To that extent, they can prove useful in combination with conventional medicine.