What better way to learn how to handle management dilemmas than to get solutions straight from the horse's mouth? That's the premise of First Person: Tales of Management Courage and Tenacity (Harvard Business School Press, $19.95 cloth). Edited by Thomas Teal, this collection of Harvard Business Review articles explores a range of experiences.
Take, for example, the gut-wrenching account of one businessman faced with an unproductive AIDS-stricken employee. "On the one hand, I knew that removing Jim was necessary to meet my responsibilities as a manager. On the other hand, I believed that taking action against him meant failing my responsibilities as a human being," he writes. "I had never had to force the . . . reassignment of an employee who was facing death."
In another scenario, a casualty of corporate downsizing reflects on his many struggles to make the transition from highly paid executive to highly overworked entrepreneur. He became a franchisee to shield himself from the hazards of going it alone. That shield was removed, however, when his franchisor effectively went under.
Don't misunderstand, though: These aren't gloom-and-doom stories meant to dissuade the faint of heart. On the contrary, they're simply honest takes on the challenges that come with authority.