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Foreword - Pg. xii

xii Foreword No doubt about it. The ability to simplify is not only a wonderful talent of those who can do it, it's a precious gift for those who benefit. This book qualifies on both counts. Robert Bacal simplifies deal- ing with difficult employees and will help you do the same. Bacal has taken a problem faced by every manager, separated it into its component parts, explained the consequences of bad decisions, and, best of all, given scores of real-life "What should I do now?" recommendations. My favorite chapter focuses on performance management. The reason--performance management provides several tools managers can use to help people appreciate that their difficult behavior is causing problems and gives them ways to change that behavior. To underscore the book's concentration on simplicity and practicality, each chapter ends with the bottom line summary, "The Least You Need to Know." I like that! Almost all business books could improve if they would encapsulate each chapter like that. There are many ways to benefit, both directly and indirectly, from this book. First, readers will likely think of difficult people they must deal with immediately. My guess is that most readers will be tempted to actually write the names of those people in the margins as they read. That's not a bad idea because it will force a thought process that will help you apply the principles covered to the real-life situations you face as a manager. When the same name gets written in the margin several times, you know that's a person you really have to deal with. This book gives you the know-how to do just that. When I think back on situations that required me to work with people who were making my life miserable, I wish I had had this book. Ted, for example, tried his very best every day in every way to make me feel inferior. I tried my best to avoid a confrontation and usually did. But oh, how I wish I could have read Chapter 12, "Can You Create Win-Win with These Folks? And How!" at the time. As a manager, when I got caught in the crossfire during a civil war between two or more employees, I usually tried to settle it myself. Looking back, my success record was mediocre at best. Why didn't I consider the benefits of a neutral mediator? Too proud? Afraid of admitting a weakness? Definitely! Now I can understand the value of such help, as explained in Chapter 10, "Monkey in the Middle: Mediation and Arbitration." Be forewarned. This book is for those who are serious about managing more effectively. It is not light, puffy, cutesy stuff to read that may give you a laugh but not much help. Therein lies its value. It's easy to read, but it's real-world all the way. From learning how to handle manipulators to feedback strategies, to understanding personal attacks to sabotage, to backroom politicking to dealing with a nutso boss--it's all here! My conclusion--much good will come from this book. Roger Fritz Founder and President, Organization Development Consultants and best-selling author of 34 man- agement and business books.