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Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success with the Team You Have - Winners, Losers, Misfits, and All Paperback – May 3, 2011

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Bare Knuckle People Management: Creating Success with the Team You Have - Winners, Losers, Misfits, and All + The First-Time Manager + The New Manager's Tool Kit: 21 Things You Need to Know to Hit the Ground Running
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935618482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935618485
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Intriguing new book…O’Neil and Kulisek take a refreshingly candid look at handling employees….It’s a welcome change from the pie-in-the sky ‘engagement’ and ‘empowerment’ blather we’re always hearing from the so-called management experts.”
—HR Morning

“Tired of the beat-around-the-bush, wishy-washy, walk-on-eggs approach to management that prevails in our politically-correct workplace? Replace it with common-sense, straightforward communication tailored to the personality types on your team.”
Dallas Morning News

“Great premise. Treat everyone differently.”
—Tom Peters, leadership and business expert, author of In Search of Excellence

"Bare Knuckle People Management is a clever, straight-forward, practical guide to understanding and managing each of your people to get the most out of them. A refreshing break from 'leadership books' that insist the key to management success is a one-size-fits-all formula. Finally, a book that speaks directly to the manager for the real world."
—Christopher Heck, Senior Vice President of the National Basketball Association

"The authors of Bare Knuckle People Management know successful people management is easier than a lot of managers make it. Kulisek and O’Neil’s no-nonsense insights are not only amusing but on the mark. If you are a manager looking to improve the performance of your team, someone who just became a manager or think you would like to become a manager, you will be glad you read this book."
—Paul Mott, Head of Club Services, Major League Soccer

"Bare Knuckle People Management is the top solution for the most common people-management issues. It provides the specific distinctions needed to turn our management into leadership. Read this book and watch your teams succeed!"
—Justin Sach, best-selling author of The Power of Persistence and Your Mailbox Is Full

"Forget Leadership Training! This is how to hit the ground running as a manager. Every sentence provides realistic, practical, and applicable advice for today.”
—Ivan Dunmire, EVP, Director of Human Resources, MPG

“Creating success with the team you have is probably the most problematical challenge for every manager. Say goodbye to cheesy team-building exercises and say hello to methods that truly work. Bare Knuckle People Management is an indispensable resource to taking your entire team to the next level.”
—Barry Moltz, Getting Small Business Unstuck Author, Speaker and Consultant

“Very entertaining and informative! Bare Knuckle People Management takes a hard fist to the soft science of management, giving the reader practical advice on how to get the most out of a team of differing personalities and skill sets. The characterization of the possible employees that could make up your team at work is dead-on, and anyone who has a bit of sports acumen or pop-cultural awareness will be able to identify with them with ease thanks to the examples in the book. Bare Knuckle People Management should be the foundation for any college’s Management 101 class.”
—Mike Gutch, CFO NewsCore

"Coaching a professional basketball team is not different from managing a team of corporate employees. You have stars, utility players and bench warmers, all of whom thrive when their coach tailors his approach to their unique talents, weaknesses and contributions to the team. No BS People Management speaks directly to managers who have been frustrated by the notion that all employees need to be treated equally and with kids' gloves."
—Mike D'Antoni, Head Coach of the New York Knicks

"Bare Knuckle People Management is a knock-out! Authors Sean O'Neil and John Kulisek deliver a writing style that entertains while providing useful insights on how to get the most from your team (of inevitably unique personalities). After reading this book, you will be better prepared to confront the 'people challenges' that often prevent managers from maximizing their effectiveness. Bare Knuckle is now a must read for anyone who manages people in our organization.
—Philip Pecora, President & CEO Genesee Regional Bank

"The school of hard knocks approach to the challenges of managing the team you are given. Bare Knuckle People Management helps you to develop strategies to optimize the performance of the team by applying assessing the strengths and weakness of each member of the group. The good news is that all of this advise is actionable now for managers-not just at annual reviews or after expensive assessment surveys!"
—Kevin A. Schulman, MD, Director of Fuqua Health Sector Management Program

“Unlike many management books, Bare Knuckle People Management treats the readers like they actually have brains. The authors, O’Neil and Kulisek, show managers how to use what they already know and listen to their gut instincts in order to best manage their diverse workforces.”
—Clifford A. Teller, Head of Global Investment Banking

About the Author

Sean O’Neil is principal owner and CEO of One to One Leadership, a sales and management training and recruitment company. He presents regularly on sales management, leadership, sales and workplace dynamics, career development and communication issues at national and regional conferences. O'Neil has published or been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Selling Power Magazine, Executive Decision Magazine, Incentive Magazine and many others. His clients include the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer, Royal Bank of Scotland, News Corp., ADP, Shearman & Sterling LLP and First Data.

Prior to starting One to One Leadership, O'Neil worked as a child and family therapist in the psychiatry department of Boston’s Children Hospital. It was there that O'Neil developed his keen observation of the inherent power of interpersonal dynamics. He subsequently worked as a real estate lawyer at the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in New York City.

O'Neil received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, a MSW from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, his J.D. from Duke University School of Law and his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
O'Neil, his wife, Erin, and four children, Matt, Ryan, Julia and Olivia, live in Pelham Manor, N.Y.

John Kulisek is President of The Norben Group, a sales and marketing firm specializing in the production, import and distribution of fine permanent botanicals that operates in the United States, China, and Hong Kong. Some of the many places his quotes and managerial philosophies have appeared in and on include The Wall Street Journal,, and ABC News.

He lives in Tenafly, N.J

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

This book was easy to read and very informative.
Jordon C McBride
Laughter will erupt throughout the read, as you place people you have worked with into one or more of the team member personalities.
Impressive Thoughts
I would recommend any new manager or team leader to read this book first.
Xavier Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Roche on May 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bare Knuckle People Management is an outstanding tool-kit for managers to understand team building and getting optimal performance out of their organization. At the heart of the analysis is the reality that every team member is different and needs to be managed in a unique fashion; the authors break down the nuances, strengths and weaknesses that can be found in any work environment and coach executives on how to best make them successful.

One of the most refreshing things about the book is that O'Neil and Kulisek write in a very "active" voice; so much literature in this field features overly empathetic summaries of skill development that has the effect of setting a manager back on their heels in a sort-of "defensive crouch" when thinking about how to get the best out of an organization. Bare Knuckle People Management speaks to the manager in a tone of voice that reflects the way most managers think about their job and making their teams successful, while providing honest looks at the work environment and the characters you find there. Highly recommended for everyone from first time managers to more experienced executives looking for a fresh way to view their organization.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim Estill on May 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I had a negative reaction to the title. I tend to be more of a people person and more of a "look for the good in people" person. That management style has served me well.

But I liked the book. Seems I like most books (or as a point of time management, I don't bother reading them (the first rule of speed reading is don't bother reading something that is not worth reading) and certainly don't review them).

Part 1 talks about the "people principles". Things like "team wide rules suck" and "apologize well then move on".

Part 2 talks about the different types of players on the team. People like "Steady Eddie", "The Doer", "Needy Ned" etc. Each person in your team will have some characteristics of each type. He also talks about how to deal with each type.

Part 3 talks about the team - putting it all together.

What I have learned about teams is there needs to be a balance of players. People who love numbers and those who love people. The challenge is to help people value the other players. People tend to value people like themselves so number people think other number people are great and people people just waste time. True wisdom is recognizing the value and need for all.

And a great team combines the right mix of all.

There is a good chapter near the end on "the first 30 days as a manager". I am a big advocate of having a plan. I like 90 day plans but what is presented as the first 30 days is good.

This is a great book for first time managers. And a good book for all managers and leaders.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Robbins on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Bear Knuckle People Management hits the nail on the head! This book gives you an insightful and humorous view of your staff from top to bottom, identifies their strengths/weaknesses and gives the reader insight on how to maximize each person's potential. The author's have done a great job giving entry level managers a footprint on how to succeed in their first managerial position. Not only is this a MUST read for first time manager's, but can also serve as a great learning tool for all levels of corporate hierarchy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Veteri on April 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Sean O'Neil and John Kulisek's Bare Knuckle Management is an esential read for any current or aspring business leader. Part motivation and part how to, this well written and practical guide defines what it means to be an effective leader and how to get the best out of your team.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Xavier Smith on December 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a tenured manager but never think that I am omniscient when it comes to managing others. The reason I bought this book was that I wanted a refresher on management principles, but I didn't want a book that was terribly theory focused; I also didn't want a book that offered management guidance in a book with 500 or more pages. I just don't have the time for that now.

This book met both of those needs and even touched on a few unmet ones. The goal of this book is the same as most other management books: to provide insight into the people we manage. The distinction, however, is that this book is takes a real-life approach, whereas others tend to focus on management theories that can seem too abstract to apply on the ground level. An example would be this book's referring to a difficult employee as an "a$$," while theory-based books may focus on the situation and call it "dealing with a employee-motivation challenge." As the saying goes, call a spade a spade.

This book is focused on delivering actionable information to new managers. I would recommend any new manager or team leader to read this book first. I believe you'll be come a more effective, team-connected manager with this approach than others. After some years in the management grindstone, perhaps then should we consider looking at some of the high-minded offerings on effective management.

I do appreciate that the book is honest enough with managers to openly say that the result of successfully managing others to success is to make the manager look good so that he or she can continue to professionally. Compare that with the theory-based books that act as if management self-preservation is a non-starter discussion.
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