Managing: Bringing Out the Best in People

One of the best books I give new managers is Alan Loy McGinnis’s Bringing Out the Best in People.  It’s a rare book that most people have not heard of or read but it’s definitely one of the best in my library on management and leadership.   One of the reasons that this is a little known book is that it is from mid-80’s and the author was a family therapist and not a famous CEO or business expert but the book is great because McGinnis draws many of his insights from his understanding of people’s psychology and human behavior combined with his experience consulting companies and studying management.

A good leader and coach has a hard balance to strike – he or she encourages and supports their people but still requires them to produce excellent results.

As good leaders and managers know, “most people want to bring their best selves to the job but often grow frustrated when a lack of resources or a process problem prevents them from doing so” which is actually from a book “The Art of Possibility” by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander. In business we often hire bright people with huge potential only to see them become disengaged and we just need to ask our employees “What can I do to make you more effective at your job?” rather than reprimanding them. One of the most effective ways to motivate people is to make them feel that they are making a real contribution to the company’s mission and goals. These lessons are among the 12 rules for bringing out the best in people that the author shares:

  1. Expect the best from people you lead
  2. Study the person’s needs
  3. Establish high standards of excellence
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal
  5. Identify what they want and help them get there
  6. Employ models to encourage success
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge
  10. Place a premium on collaboration
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation high


Original is posted at Managing: Bringing Out the Best in People.