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The Invisible Spotlight: Why Managers Can't Hide Paperback – June 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Most management books are peppered with enough tips and gimmicks to make one's head spin.  Then there is The Invisible Spotlight: Why Managers Can't Hide, a book that is short on gimmicks and long on sound advice from two management consultants with seventy years of combined experience.     Foreward Clarion Review

Real-life lessons on how managers can maximize their employees' potential by recognizing the power of seemingly everyday moments. The boss is always being watched--his or her employees ponder every word and discuss every deed. Wasserman and Katz call this the "invisible spotlight," and getting the most from employees depends on how managers conduct themselves and their relationships under its ceaseless glare. The authors argue that managers commonly underestimate the impact they have on their employees. Well-crafted encouragement can set the stage for improvement, while a callous demeanor can undermine the management relationship. Like an architect designing a building, the effective leader deliberately creates conditions that enable subordinates to achieve goals. Distilling decades of consulting work into a slim, potent text, Wasserman and Katz sidestep the buzzwords and management "formulas" that have overrun the genre. Instead their book teaches by example through war stories from the corporate front lines. A case study about a caustic yet capable trucking manager in Ohio reveals how a boss can improve the bottom line but demoralize his workforce in the process, putting longer-term success in jeopardy. The story of a nitpicking boss who tried to artificially create a "Caring Culture" in her department underscores the importance of credibility. The successful transformation of a former superstar employee to a behind-the-scenes leader offers a lesson in how to adapt to a new role. Whether dealing with an office diva or apologizing for an outburst, managers at all levels can find guidance in these succinct pages. The authors could have done more to address how carelessly composed emails and text messages--those imperfect modes of communication essential in today's workplace--can damage relationships as easily as the spoken word. Still, the book's authenticity makes up for this oversight, and makes it a welcome addition in cubicles and executive suites alike. A trove of insightful parables for anyone who has struggled in a managerial role. --Kirkus

About the Author

CRAIG WASSERMAN, Ph.D. As a management consultant, trainer and lecturer since 1976, Craig has left consultant-speak behind to focus in common sense ways on the uneasy, unfamiliar moments that managers encounter as they develop relationships with their employees. He helps managers explore their ultimate responsibility for making these critical organizational relationships work. He shows managers how to deal head-on with their internal apprehensions and external realities, how to master the tasks that are especially awkward for them and how to perform as intelligent, practical leaders. Craig earned his degrees from The American University in Washington, D.C.: a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Development, a Master of Education in Counseling, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology. He followed these studies with a year’s Post Doctoral Internship at the University of Maryland, and immediately cofounded Wasserman/Katz. He took a two and a half year sabbatical from the firm to work as Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development at Browning Ferris Industries. Today Craig splits his time between Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Houston, Texas with Kathleen, his wife of twenty seven years.

DOUG KATZ, M.A. For almost four decades, Doug has been advising managers on the most intelligent ways to steward their organizations and navigate their relationships with employees. In addition to his consulting work, Doug is often retained to facilitate meetings and conferences addressing controversial issues. He has participated in a fifteen year study of national employment trends to help his clients prepare for emerging workforce challenges. He was a guest instructor on Business Ethics in the University of Maryland’s Honors Program and has served on the Boards of The Grauer School, the Pretrial Justice Institute, IDC Marketing, Inc., and Red Shark Technology. JamArtz (jamartz.com) is a communication design studio, that Doug launched in 1990. The studio creates identity systems, marketing copy, fundraising communications, poster art, and signage for local, regional and national clients. Doug earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Clinical Psychology from American University in Washington, DC. and was awarded an NIMH Clinical Training Fellowship. Upon graduation he served as an editorial consultant and soon after co-founded Wasserman/Katz. Doug lives in San Diego, California with his wife of thirty five years.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1460926013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1460926017
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Walsh on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
There are so many management self-help books available these days that many if not most of them have begun to rely on gimmicks to try to stand out from the swelling throng. It is very refreshing, therefore, to come across one that relies on careful observation of human behaviour and pragmatic responses to the problems likely to be encountered in the course of a managerial career. Authors Wasserman and Katz draw upon their many years of experience as management consultants to find a series of vignettes which are presented in straightforward language with the lessons to be learned clearly signposted.

The book starts from the position that managers have a huge influence on the lives of the people they manage but that they do not always realize this - hence the invisible manager concept that is used in the title. Every aspect of the manager's personality, appearance, behaviour and so forth is endlessly picked over the employees, who often of course conclude with the negative interpretation of words and deeds. The manager should, as a result, consciously and actively consider the nature of her role and performance and use elements of emotional intelligence (this phrase is not used - indeed, there is an almost total absence of management jargon in the book) to try both to understand the feelings and motivations of employees and consider how to improve these for the benefit of the organization.

From this, the authors highlight a range of different situations in which managers, who are of course the intended audience for the book, should improve themselves by being aware of themselves at all times (another set of writers would have veered into the Buddhist tenet of the need for mindfulness here which Wasserman and Katz avoid).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank W. Montfort on July 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
I recommend this book of practical and actionable management ideas to all new and old managers. It points out in a very effective way that words, how we say them and when we say them send powerful messages to the our subordinates and the organization. And more important than what we say, our actions, how we execute them and when we execute them send even more powerful messages. These communications profoundly impact the health of the organization and its ability to achieve optimally. Further, the employee's peceptions of being treated fairly, respectfully and in a dignified manner is imperative. This book is full of good practical, yet critical advice on how to manage and lead effectively.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David C on September 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Invisible Spotlight could have been sub-titled "The Visible Mirror". I inserted myself into each anecdote as either a subordinate or a manager and while wondering "How would I have handled that situation?" The authors hit upon a range of managing "gotcha's" in a memorable and pointed way - and do more than a little teaching in each anecdote. This book is both a quick read and deeply layered study of common leadership pitfalls and lessons learned. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Ruffa on August 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
STOP!! Just ... just stop! Slowly, back away from the computer (or put down your Kindle)!
Purge yourself of the desire to buy any other printed management theory text! Everything you've read to-date is simply useless in comparison!
"The Invisible Spotlight" illustrates what real and effective management truly is! It's all described in very clear language, using real life stories, and stays away from the formulaic, textbook approach to dissecting today's workforce; it does NOT attempt to con us into believing there is any place for a purely scientific approach to managing people.
The authors make a case for employing one's resources to ignite the inherent talents and humanity within us and to strategically deploy those `weapons' in our daily battles up the corporate hills. You are simply given a choice, charge those hills with Sisyphean zeal and pain or lead your employees to fight for you! If you agree the latter is more desirable, then read this book and discover exactly what you have to do to realize this objective!
Now, you may approach your computer again (or pick up your Kindle) with purpose and haste ... and do yourself a big favor - buy it! And read it, too! Of course!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael on August 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Although I only manage a few individuals, I found this book informative and entirely accessible i.e. not dry like these types of books typically are. The lessons are taught by the use of actual anecdotes and that method not only made it easier to understand, but it made it seem more like a story than a "how to" book. I actually looked forward to picking it up and reading the next anecdote. I can't remember a book like this reading like a page turner, but this one does. Terrific, I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Becky on January 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book holds up the mirror for us to see the impact our behavior has on those we lead. The lessons are clear and compelling. I guarantee that you will see yourself in one of the examples provided. Every manager should read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon Koppel on September 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a phenomenal book filled with practical advice that all managers should receive. The anecdotes help to illustrate challenges and solutions that are interesting and relatable. A quick read that I expect to revisit several times.
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