Short takes
Management guides
Randeep Wadehra

Appraisal & Performance Management
by Alison Naisby. Unistar, Chandigarh. Pages 126. Rs 70.

Appraisal & Performance ManagementPerformance management has come a long way from being a static, nebulous concept that was occasionally employed for postmortem purposes whenever a project failed to measure up to stipulated parameters. Itís now an accepted fact that performance appraisalís an essential part of comprehensive management activity.

With the help of pertinent hints and diagrams, this slender handbook, which is the first of Fast Track series under review, enables us to quickly absorb the salient features of performance management.

by Andrew Forrest. Unistar. Pages 47. Rs 50.

Delegation is the act of entrusting to subordinates specific duties or work, and concomitant decision-making powers, in order to carry out that work efficiently. Even though itís been a part of management precepts for a long time now, many managers have been reluctant to implement it for fear of losing their own perceived importance in the hierarchy. Consequently, while bosses become overworked and inefficient, their junior colleagues feel stifled and underemployed.

Forrest gives us a crisp overview of the anatomy and importance of delegation. He also provides a checklist at the end of each chapter to help one grasp the nitty-gritty of delegation-based management functions.

by Ian Lawson. Unistar. Pages 85. Rs 65.

Kouzes and Posner, in their book Credibility, remark "Leadership is a reciprocal relationship between those who choose to lead and those who decide to follow". An ideal leader ensures that his team works to its optimum potential in order to get the most satisfying results. Every organisation functions with the help of a management structure with all rules, regulations, directions, i.e., checks and balances, in place. Itís the function of a leader to lend dynamism to such a structure.

In order to enthuse the workforce a leader resorts to generating original ideas. This he does through animated debates, one-to-one deliberations as well as keeping communication channels open. In the process he becomes a role model. Lawson examines the concept of leadership and how it ought to be put into practice.

Managing attendance
by Sue Morris. Unistar. Pages 62. Rs 50.

Employee absenteeism is a headache for all organisations. However, within limits, it may be acceptable as routine. But, unchecked, it can become a debilitating impediment to the functioning of an organisation. Production schedules go haywire, customer service suffers, and conscientious workers may have to share extra workload, causing dissatisfaction.

A manager needs to understand why employees absent themselves from work and whether theyíre habitual absentees or victims of personal/professional circumstances. Morris has enumerated different types of absences. However, the chapters relating to law may not be very useful for readers in India except that these provide a glimpse of how things work in the USA.

All these six volumes help demystify the art Ďní science of management.

Managing Time
by Debra Allock Tyler. Unistar. Pages 79. Rs 60.

The late Canadian poet, Robert William Service, once remarked, "Ah! the clock is always slow; / It is later than you think". This is becoming increasingly true in the world of management where demands on oneís time keep escalating. A manager needs to respond promptly to the dynamics of a competitive market as goods and services have to be produced on ever-increasing scales even when their quality needs to be regularly upgraded. Thus time becomes a precious input.

This paperback not only helps one understand the meaning and importance of time but also provides useful tips on how to make its optimum use.