Book Review HR Remix

Face Reality

Book Review of Cy Wakeman’s Reality Based Leadership

“I play favorites and that’s OK”

“Every business wants aggressive agenda’s with limited resources.  This is called capitalism. Every year when the aggressive agenda comes down we act shocked. Why?”

The above are two quotes from the keynote speech that CY Wakeman gave last year at the Minnesota State SHRM Conference. Although speaking to an HR audience, her book and key note titled “Reality -Based Leadership” is very much applicable to the average HR pro.

Any of us have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership by pushing accountability and results.  An important theme in Cy’s book is that many of our problems are self-created because we don’t confront reality, instead we sit there and complain about why something can’t work. Cy suggests we can make ourselves and our teams happier by confronting reality: stop thinking about why it won’t work and figure out how it can work.

That sounds like a pretty universal message and is one of the top reasons I loved this book: there is a lesson here for everyone: leaders, HR pros and employees. 

Cy walks us through finding peace at work (that is the facing reality part), restoring sanity to the workplace, and leading your team to results in an engaging and easy-to-read style.

Many books advise leaders to “value all opinions,” and “treat everyone equally” Cy eloquently and succinctly argues against those premises. When she advocates playing favorites she isn’t suggesting discrimination or favoring your friends.  Instead, she encourages you to reward the truly valuable employees on your team.  Only by having the courage to differentiate can we see great results.

Maybe you’ve heard that before? Or maybe you think that is “pie in the sky” and can’t be accomplished by mere mortals? Cy would disagree with that and arms you with a number of tools, access to extras such as podcasts on her website and some very practical advice for dealing with different situations.

In one example Cy walks the reader through setting expectations with a resistant employee. She starts out with setting the agenda, keeping the conversation on task, questions to ask, and setting up a follow up plan. Keep in mind the only work you do in this example is meeting with your resistant employee,  setting expectations,  explaining the shortcomings you see and having the employee draw up a plan to address those issues.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone to read, but will be especially helpful for leaders and HR. The rest of the book is full of good information, examples from work and research and practical advice. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for guidance on leadership and team building.

Interested in more HR book review’s? Click over to my reMix reviews page! 

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