Nickerson’s Four-Star Management Workshop

Pat Nickerson, Prentice Hall Publishing


This is a handbook that provides a multitude of situations, each listing suggested response options that the author has heard from managers who take her interactive courses.  Nickerson reviews and advises on the pros and cons of each, finally giving her recommendation on the best option.

The following are the eight main sections: How Astute Managers Deal with Anger; How Secure Managers Handle Peer Conflicts; How Shrewd Managers Impress the Boss; Negotiate: How to get all you need if you can’t get all you want; Changing Technology: How to survive the pace; No Guilt Delegation; How Enlightened Bosses Appraise Performance; How Powerful Managers Stay Promotable.

There are a number of very practical checklists that by themselves can be reminders of important lessons – my favourite is in Session 3 Part 5 pp 159 – 190,

What Bosses Owe Subordinates, What Subordinates Owe Bosses, What Neither Owes the Other.



  1. Direction: clear, specific, consistent with announced goals.
  2. Information: on which risks/opportunities require a change in direction and why.
  3. Support: adequate facilities, funds, and staff to get goals met.  Coaching when the employee falters.
  4. Feedback: objective and specific performance evaluation with room for employee response.
  5. Strategic Planning: as investment in the department’s future growth.  Career path advice as consequence.
  6. Inspiration and Encouragement: sincere.
  7. Discipline and correction: even-handed and positive.
  8. Respect: for the subordinate’s human dignity and achievements.



  1. Performance: careful and complete to meet or exceed stated requirements.
  2. Information: on risks/opportunities clear to the subordinate, relevant to the boss.
  3. Requests and recommendations: not complaints and untested ‘ideas’.
  4. Patience: consideration of the boss’s time demands and constraints.
  5. Commitment to the boss’s goals: unstinting investment of time and talent to achieve them (or open-minded willingness to be convinced).
  6. Courage and self-discipline: staying power even in tough times.  Willingness to ask what and how rather than assume why.
  7. Respect: doe the boss’s human dignity and position in the hierarchy.



  1. Mutual psychoanalysis, mind-reading.
  2. Personal affection.
  3. Allegiance to the same values.
  4. Self-sacrifice for one another’s ‘good’.
  5. Perfection.