Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results
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on May 28, 2014
If you are a manager or leader, you will love Cy Wakeman's book for one reason. She takes all responsibility for your team being the way it is off your shoulders and squarely puts it on your employees. They are the reason for all the issues in the office, with their 'drama' and their 'complaining'. Scant attention is paid to whether it is the manager who might be in need of a dose of reality, and when it is, Wakeman shrugs it off with a 'don't to that' mentality.
I found this book to be utterly one-sided and overly simplistic. ("Here's the problem. Do this and *poof* magically it is fixed.") There seems to be no complexity in Wakeman's world. You have bad employees. Fix them or fire them. In my tenure as both a manager and one managed, I have seen it as a much more complex relationship where there are bad employees and too much drama. However, there are just as many bad managers who are the major contributors to the situations described in this book.
I am glad I was given this book to read for a study group, as I would have been very disappointed to have bought it only to find how utterly fawning it is. If you, as a manager, need that kind of reinforcement, buy this book. If you are looking for real answers that might include you being a bit introspective about your own style, look elsewhere.
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on March 7, 2011
I've read several leadership books and this is one of my least favorite. If you work in an office with people of very low emotional intelligence, then this may be a good book to start with. There are a few core leadership theories that would be picked up, but I really disagreed with a lot of the messages. I'll list a few points where I dissent.

Cy Wakeman's approach does not consider subordinates values and beliefs. Each employee and situation will be different and should be handled as such. By providing a canned response and changing topics, leaders will demotivate followers and hinder future open and honest communication.

Wakeman suggests that not everyone's opinion counts and leaders should instead get input from decision makers. But she fails to also include input from task experts. Her concept would exclude individuals with operational knowledge in exchange for decision power.

Wakeman's ROI limiting belief example is inane. AS a VP, I would hope that I have delegated valuable work to my subordinates so that I would not interrupt them to make me a few copies. If it was an important large scale outsourced print job, then I'd probably delegate it.

The Limiting Belief of "There is no such thing as a stupid question" is to put it bluntly, stupid. She believes that there are stupid questions and employees shouldn't waste time asking them. Having been a member of many agile decision making teams, sometimes you just need to provoke thought and at times the most obvious question can be overlooked. This limitation contradicts Wakeman's belief in value of action.

My advice, address issues head and set the cultural standard in the workplace for open, honest, and consistent communication. And buy another book.
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on March 11, 2016
How Cy Wakeman makes a living preaching to others, I will never understand. Her assumption is that managers are managers because they are all leaders and great decision makers - is at it's core, flawed. Any attempt by the underlings is to be discarded, because "your opinions don't matter, your actions do." This is a quote from her. At least inasmuch as it applies to the poor people reporting to the managers she is busy fooling into paying for her seminar. I have had to sit through her seminar, and it is dumbfounding and infuriating. As a person that is a subject matter expert reporting to brand new managers that know nothing of the company - it is not my position to object to stupid decisions they make, even if we have tried them in the past and they have failed. The problem is ME, because I am not willing to go along with the new, uninformed managers. If I am not saying YES to every stupid decision then it is ME creating the drama and nor being helpful. Her priorities are to suck up to managers first, then pin all the failures on their underlings. Even HR had to come out with paperwork to attempt to "clarify" to the staff after the training that "if you thought we were saying we want you to be yes-men, then that is you telling yourself stories about our motivations that are not true." Meanwhile, the training is very explicit in its goals: yes men. Also - if you need to "clarify" what you are saying to everyone after the fact, then guess what? YOU ARE NOT COMMUNICATING WELL. Cy will somehow find a way to blame the workforce for her terrible communication anyway. That is her goal.
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on April 14, 2016
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was very helpful in my first supervisory role. It gave me some great insight into my role as a supervisor and also helped me decide what role I wanted to take as a leader. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to be a leader
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VINE VOICEon September 26, 2010
Wakeman explains that frustration in the workplace is at an all-time high because of "circumstances" and "people." Frustrating circumstances being the recession, the rapid pace of change, budget cuts, increased regulation, and everyone being asked to do more with fewer resources. Frustrating "people" being "BMW" - bitching, moaning and whining employees with a sense of entitlement where the motivation and accountability ought to be - - BMW employees who prefer creating drama to getting the job done. She goes on to say that as leaders, we are not helping. We judge and when we judge we no longer serve, learn or lead. We expect others to add value when we don't. We spend too much time with our worst performers and we don't reward our best. We over-manage and under-lead fostering a state of learned helplessness. A few key principles of her "Reality-Based Leadership" model" include:

* DO A REALITY CHECK. STOP BELIEVING YOUR 'STORIES.' A great deal of conflict is manufactured in our own minds. When faced with a conflict, we tend to create a mental story that paints ourselves as a victim and helpless while someone else is a villain. Get the facts - give others the benefit of the doubt when assigning motives - ask "what is the next right action I can take that would add the most value to the situation - direct your energy on that action - seek to be successful rather than right. Remember, always ask yourself 2 questions: (1) what are the facts? (2) How could I help? Make a list of what you can do right now to add value and get busy making that happen.

* MODEL THE ROLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE OTHERS PLAY. Be the change you wish to see in the world. When you begin judging others, you stop adding value. Seek instead to understand the views of others, practice those virtues, which you have determined to be lacking in others such as open-mindedness, patience, inclusiveness, tolerance and appreciation. Get rid of your double standards, and stop expecting others to excel where you have not yet mastered.

* MOVE TO A CLEARER, HIGHER PERSPECTIVE. Learn to sense when the conflict is getting personalized and be prepared to move quickly to a professional perspective by asking the group to clarify the overarching goal of their work together. "Getting to the highest point will provide a whole new view, a perspective that should be committed to memory as a road map once we are back on the lower, more confusing ground." Given the goal identified, what is the best way to move forward? What it the best that each of you can contribute?

* REVEAL A CLEAR WAY FORWARD. With the common goal now clear, go one level deeper and have those involved in the conflict identify their more personal goals of their divisions, or roles. Frame the situation as a box with the overarching goal at the top and the individual goals as sides of the box. Most conflicts involve disparate parties truly believing that their individual goals are mutually exclusive and are thinking in terms of achieving one OR the other - or achieving one at the cost of another. Replace the "OR" in this equation with "AND" and engage the conflicting parties in problem solving.

* LEAD. DON'T OVER-MANAGE. Resist the urge to add more value when your team comes for help. Re-frame the situation from one which she is a victim to one which she is in control will lead her to her own best solution. And, shift from your comfort zone of "logistics" (being in the weeds in process and procedures) and focus on the hearts and minds. 80% of your time as a leader should be spent clarifying goals and roles - and if you are doing your job correctly, you should not have to get involved in procedures or process at all. Ambiguity is the source of team conflict (clarity on team's goals, roles and procedures).

This book (< 150 pages) is a quick read. It is well-written (no-nonsense; straight talk) and supported with relevant examples. The appendixes offer up very good exercises and self-tests. If you loved John G. Miller's, QBQ (The Question Behind the Question), you'll find this book takes personal accountability to the next level. Wakeman states that "in times of conflict, what people need most is for you to get real, step up, redirect their energy, and help them see their circumstances differently so that they can create better professional relationships and greater results in their team."

Who is this book written for? Managers who "are feeling deflated at the end of the day - or even sometimes at the beginning - the stories that you are telling yourself are like little holes in your tires letting all the air out. You will be happy and will have peace of mind to the exact degree that you accept responsibility for your results...those who have learned this and other tools of Reality-Based Leadership leave the office energized because they have had an impact and they have dealt with reality the entire day, to the best of their abilities." I think she nails it with her book.
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on March 13, 2015
Again, another brutally honest book by Cy Wakeman about personal accountability (Cy wrote this book first, but I read it second). I'm still processing the information, but I can't recommend it enough.
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on June 4, 2011
It took me 4 days to read Cy's book. Not because I'm a slow reader or had limited time, but because I took 5 pages of notes! Because of the principles contained therein, my work environment looks totally different; starting with me! Those who know my history as a manager could testify to the severity of my own buy-in regarding these principles. It would be an understatement to say it's worth one's investment to put into practice the principles contained in Cy's book.
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on September 24, 2012
Short, well-written read. I immediately related to the subject material and applied some of the suggested resolutions. Really helped me "stay in the moment". Drama is not totally gone, but I'm on my way. Thanks, Cy Wakeman, for common sense ways to bring reality into my work life.
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on December 8, 2014
Eh- a few good tips. Nothing I haven't heard before. I was assigned to read it for a work group book study and I got a couple good concepts out of it. Not sure it changed my world for the better. As an HR Mgr, I'm always looking for new tips and advice that is contemporary and can be applied to the modern day workforce. This book manages to re-enforce what I already know.
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on August 6, 2016
Cy does a great job of making it simple to get the concepts. She calls out some fallacies that have been taught in business books for years. This book has been a fantastic addition to our management team's series.
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