Performance expectations for managers keep going up. Managers are continually asked to do more, but to do it with less. For top management, the standard response to flagging profits and increasing competition has become budget cuts and layoffs. Middle managers and supervisors suffer the consequences, as they are left with too few resources and people to do the work. They are forced to operate in survival mode, putting in long hours to deal with an endless stream of urgent problems. Almost never do they have the time to think beyond this month’s results. In addition, they are under constant scrutiny, and their jobs are not secure.

Ironically, help is closer than they realize—in the people who work for them. They are the ones who do the ...

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