I recently received a free copy of The 27 Challenges Managers Face by Bruce Tulgan. The book is great and something I would have gladly paid for considering the insights I gleaned from it.
The book analyzes 27 particular challenges that virtually all managers face at some point throughout their careers and gives various practical suggestions regarding how to deal with them. These challenges include employee self-management, increasing employee productivity, handling conflict between employees, and managing the superstar. We have all faced most of these challenges at one time or another. For example, we all face situations where employees are doing the minimum to get by when we really want to see them go the extra mile. This book gives excellent suggestions to engage these employees and ask them to show more initiative. It also explains how to provide recognition and reinforcement for the behavior. The busboy working in the restaurant will be more likely to check the salad bar if you let them know exactly what it would look like for him to go the extra mile in his particular role.
The one central theme is that things go wrong because the manager is working on auto-pilot, engaging mostly in unstructured, low substance, hit or miss communication. We all face situations that we could have handled better, such as welcoming a new member to the team and getting them onboarded. This book gives us some insight on how to avoid these pitfalls.