Resources for Humans

Dealing with Difficult People

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews the book Dealing with Difficult People, from the Results Driven Manager series published by Harvard Business School. Review covers three of book’s best tips for managers for dealing with employees.

Ever see those business book paperbacks in airport concession stands? You know, the ones in the metal racks that spin around. I bought one in the Atlanta airport, finished it, and wanted to review it before touchdown.

The data:16 short articles, 138 pages. There’s just enough info for a two-hour flight.

The best stuff:

1. Don’t always think that as a manager you must intervene in coworker disputes. After all, some disagreements are natural and the coworkers need to find there own way. However, the authors have included a handy checklist of questions to ask yourself to help you determine when you should intervene.

2. Ask subperfoming managers to write down the three most important things they get paid to do and compare it to your list. There might be an expectation misalingment.

3. Know when to fight. Usless battles drain political capital, and the the smart manager knows that it isn’t always right to be right. There’s another handy checklist included to alert you to when that’s the case.

Yes, some of the stuff they talk about is basic, but then again, you can do just so much in 138 pages. The format is easy to read format and the authors offer useful suggestions for more in depth reading.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Michael Maslanka is the managing partner of Ford & Harrison LLP’s Dallas, Texas, office. He has 20 years of experience in litigation and trial of employment law cases and has served as Adjunct Counsel to a Fortune 10 company where he provided multi-state counseling on employment matters. He has also served as a Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.

Mike is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly and Law & Politics Magazine in 2003. He was also selected as one of the best lawyers in Dallas by “D” Magazine in 2003. Mike has served as the Chief Author and Editor of the Texas Employment Law Letter since 1990. He also authors the “Work Matters” column for Texas Lawyer.