A college professor sent me this book report covering The New Manager’s Workbook from one of their students. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard from secondary educators who use my book as a text or offer it as collateral material.

The New Manager’s Workbook

A Crash Course in Effective Management

Randy Clark – Author

Randy Clark has spent many years working for, observing, and learning from the different managers he has worked for. He also had considerable time being a manager where he could develop, incorporate, and study the results of the managerial techniques he was using. Randy has worked at large and small businesses, local and multi-national firms. In the area of management, he has authored three books, writes a blog, and runs his own consulting firm providing leadership skills training programs and seminars to businesses and organizations.

Randy’s knowledge, experience, and implementation of these managerial techniques are perfect qualifications to writing this book aimed at helping new managers get started on the right footing. The New Manager’s Workbook would be an excellent guide to continuously refer to as new situations arise in a manager’s job and responsibilities.

The book covers thirteen different key areas of management. Recruiting and Hiring, Training, Conducting Meetings, Motivation & Team Building, Employee Reviews, Silo Busting, Communication, Goal Setting, Behavior Modification, Conflict Management, Problem Solving, Time Management, and What is Leadership?

All these areas would be applicable to an agribusiness in today’s business climate. Each of the following topics would be extremely important not only to an agribusiness but virtually any business to keep its employees, managers, and the entire business successful and profitable in the future.

Communication skills are very important in conveying company policies, goals, training, and expectations to employees. Good listening skills and asking for employees to repeat back what they heard in their own words helps to confirm that the message has been understood or where clarification is needed. Breakdowns in communication between managers and employees, or different departments within an organization can cause problems for everyone.

Randy offers tips on problem solving by giving suggestions for how to define a problem, researching the causes and possible solutions, developing, and implementing strategies to eliminate it, how to measure if progress is being made, and what the results should look like. Problems need to be identified as early as possible and not brushed aside. Early intervention can keep the problem from spreading throughout the business and cause failure of the employees and company of meeting their goals.

A manager needs to be skillful at setting goals, communicating those goals, and then giving the employees the training, guidance, and materials, they need to accomplish those goals. Goals can be as broad as an overall company achievement or as simple as having a trainee be ready to accept a position of more responsibilities and duties. It is the manager’s duty to see that everything is in place for attainable goals to be reached successfully.

A manager needs to be actively involved in the recruiting and hiring process not relying on the Human Resources department to just send them people. The manager is best qualified to know what kind of person they need, what skills are desirable, and if a candidate can bring additional skills not directly related to the job opening that could be useful to the current team members. Randy gives great advice on where to find the best candidates and how to find out as much as possible about the person before an interview. He demonstrates various ways to get a recruit to open up and give you insight on more than just their qualifications, and how to evaluate the prospects that have been interviewed.

Another interesting topic covered by the book is time management. A manager’s time is important and limited. It is critical to learn how to plan, manage time, decide when smaller tasks should be delegated to someone else, how to cut down on unnecessary interruptions, and how to provide the needed guidance to employees with out micro-managing every single detail. A manager also needs to evaluate if employees are using their time wisely and provide guidance on better time management.

I would like to work in a greenhouse or landscape supply business. If I were to try to go in as a manager or work my way up to management this book would be invaluable to me. I can visualize every section covered in this book as being important to running or managing each of these businesses. How to communicate with employees, hiring, training, goal setting, time manage, handling problems and conflicts, and leadership are all necessary skills an agribusiness manager would need to be proficient at to be successful.

This book is a quick read, concise and easy to understand the concepts and principles behind it. It is full of useful tips, suggestions, examples, and simple forms that you could modify or use as a template for your own experiences. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is currently a manager or looking to be a manager in any business situation. The information is easily applicable or transferrable to any business for a manager.

If you are already doing all these things well it is always nice to see confirmation that you are successfully on the right track. If you are lacking any of the skills detailed in this book, then this is the perfect place to start looking for ways to improve your management skills. The suggestions and methods Randy illustrates are explained and broken into manageable steps that should be easy to adopt as your own.

I would also recommend this book to anyone currently going through the job application and interview process, especially if this is your first major job or it has been a long time since your last interview process.

It has been twenty-six years since my last job interview and the process has changed by 100%. I have taken away a great deal of information on how the process now works. I have a much better understanding of what employers are looking for in job skills and training, and how they weed out applicants they are not interested in. Where they are searching as far as your social media presence and internet job listing sites is a relatively new concept.

A company can now do an in-depth background search about you before you ever speak to anyone. The book gave me insight on what types of questions I might be asked and how much they expect me to research and know about their business culture and philosophy ahead of the interview. I gained a great deal of knowledge about what to put on my resume, application, and how to be prepared for an interview.

How Can I Help You?  

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash