Jathan’s Books

Hard-won wisdomHard-Won Wisdom: True Stories from the Management Trenches

(AMACOM Books — American Management Association)

By Jathan Janove            Order here           The Preface           Audiobook           HR Magazine Review

What if you email an employee about subpar performance and he shoots back with a tirade of recriminations? What if you jokingly tell an employee to “flood the lobby”—and she actually does it? How would you respond to a dazzling new hire who now seems more interested in his office size than getting results for your organization? For managers, even simple requests or basic expectations can quickly spiral out of control. Rather than get blindsided by people problems, Jathan Janove helps you anticipate and head off trouble.

Listen to Jathan on Lead With A Story Podcast
AMA AMACOM Gildan Media

Praise for Hard-Won Wisdom: True Stories from the Management Trenches

“If you want a front-row seat to observe workplace behavior in all its intricacy and variety, read this insightful book. Jathan Janove’s long experience in employment law, executive coaching and management make for some compelling stories. Not only that, the specific, actionable advice he provides is sure to help anyone who wants to avoid career-derailing conflict.” — Marshall Goldsmith, best-selling author and world-renowned business educator and coach

“Jathan Janove has loads of stories to tell, and fortunately for us, he tells many of his best in HARD-WON WISDOM. By sharing his experiences, he creates a short-cut for us to the knowledge needed to become an empathetic, effective leader in the workplace. Let his wisdom work for you.” — Daniel H. Pink, author of TO SELL IS HUMAN and DRIVE

“Jathan Janove’s title of his new book ‘Hard-Won Wisdom’ is spot-on for the priceless wisdom he sets forth throughout every chapter in this book. I wish I had this ‘wisdom’ when I started my career 38 years ago! Rather than looking at human resources issues in the traditional legal way, we learn to look at these issues before they start in a humanistic manner so as to prevent the issues in the first place – what a concept!”— Charles Castner, Labor & Employment Corporate Counsel, Daimler Trucks North America, LLC

“Every manager has the ability and the opportunity to step up his or her game, and Jathan Janove’s book will help you do so. With a series of interesting vignettes, lifted from his many years of experience as a labor lawyer and consultant, Janove draws the reader in. Each vignette ends with a crisp summary of the moral of his story, resulting in a wealth of useful advice and guidance, and making learning easy.”— Susan Meisinger, columnist for HRExecutive Online and former President & CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Managing to Stay Out of CourtManaging to Stay Out of Court: How to Avoid The 8 Deadly Sins of Mismanagement

(Berrett-Koehler Publishers and SHRM), now in its third printing. The Library Journal made it a recommended selection, and its reviewer, Richard Drezen of The Washington Post, described it as “an extraordinarily useful book that will benefit managers and workers. Strongly recommended for all business collections.”


The Star ProfileThe Star Profile: A Management Tool To Unleash Employee Potential

(Davies-Black Publishing). Also translated and released in a Korean version. At Book Expo America in May 2009, it won the Independent Publishers Book Awards’ Gold Medal in Business & Career. The Star Profile has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily for its value in increasing ROI on human capital. The Midwest Book Review gave it 5 stars in Amazon and wrote: “The Star Profile is a guide to crafting communicationsIndependent Publishers Book Award tools that cut straight to the point, don’t waste the reader’s or listener’s time, yet remain highly effective.” The book was also a selection of Soundview Executive Book Summaries, which wrote: “While reading The Star Profile, it is easy to get excited about the potential of this tool for creating effective, fulfilling, mutually respectful employee-manager relationships.”

Jathan’s Articles & Interviews

Sample articles Jathan has written or been featured in over the years:

  • Review of Hard-won Wisdom: True Stories from the Management Trenches ~ Judge David Nuffer, Utah Bar Journal ~ (p. 30) March/April 2017.
  • Employee Engagement: A Q&A with Employee Relations Consultant Jathan Janove ~ James M. McGrew, Ogletree Deakins Employment Law Authority~ (p. 3) March/April 2017.
  • Jathan Janove Shares His Leadership Expertise with Local Execs ~ Deborah Moon, OR Jewish Life Magazine ~ February 2017.
  • True Tales from the Trenches: Legal and Management Lessons for HR ~ HR Magazine, September 2016 ~ Cautionary tales from 25 years of working to help keep employers out of court.
  • 5 Wacky Termination Cases & Their Lessons ~ HR Magazine, July 2015 ~ If you’re considering switching attorneys, make sure it’s for the right reasons.
  • Can We Fire Him Now?  From Compliance Cop To Coach ~ The Employment Law Authority (p. 7) June 2014 ~ How to use a risk assessment tool to make decisions on challenging employee relations issues.
  • To Know the Business, Start in the Trenches ~ HR Magazine, April 2012 ~ HR best practices.
  • Solving Problems With Economic Analysis ~ HR Magazine, October 2011 ~ How to use economic analysis principles to solve employment law dilemmas.
  • Become A Compliance Coach ~ HR Magazine, August 2011 ~ To be a value-added HR professional in your organization, become a “Compliance Coach” as opposed to “Compliance Cop.”
  • Performance Reviews: Good For Anything? ~ HR Magazine, June 2011 ~ How to fix the performance review – best practices case studies.
  • Before You Switch Horses ~ HR Magazine, July 2010 ~ If you’re considering switching attorneys, make sure it’s for the right reasons.
  • Manage By Learning How To Ski ~ Portland Business Journal, September 2006 ~ How to overcome the instinct to avoid dealing with employee problems.
  • Can’t Beat ‘Em, So Join ‘Em ~ HR Magazine, June 2008 ~ In this corner–operations; in the opposite–human resources.
  • Sexual Harassment: Don’t Be Surprised by the Three Big Surprises ~ Washington Healthcare News, April 2008 (p. 10) ~ Setting clear guidelines that are well below the threshold for sexual harassment can help you avoid an unexpected lawsuit.
  • Hope for the Best; Document for the Worst ~ Oregon Business Magazine, July 2007 ~ Learn several documentation tools that protect employers from legal claims and make sure employees meet performance expectations.
  • Jerks at Work ~ HR Magazine, May 2007 ~ Work jerks not only can drive away your best employees, but also can make life difficult when you show them the door.
  • Retaliation Nation ~ HR Magazine, October 2006 ~ A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling will stir up a new wave of retaliation claims.
  • Turning Right in a Left-Brain World (Creating a Star Profile) ~ HR Magazine, August 2006 ~ Use ‘right-brain’ sensibilities to create a profile for your employees and unleash the star power in them.
  • A ‘Sorry’ Strategy (Workplace Apologies) ~ HR Magazine, March 2006 ~ Apologizing–with carefully chosen words–may help avoid or settle legal claims in workplace disputes.
  • Management by Leaning Forward ~ Association Management Magazine, June 2005 ~ Move your biggest, hairiest, scariest personnel challenge to the top of your agenda, not the bottom.
  • FOB: Friend of Boss (Managing Personal Friends) ~ HR Magazine, June 2005 ~ Discover how to manage a friend without ruining your friendship or your business.
  • A 3,500-Year-Old Lesson in Delegating (the Pharaoh-Joseph Story) ~ HR Magazine, March 2005 ~ The millennia-old story of Pharaoh and Joseph illustrates how today’s managers can delegate effectively.
  • Settle for Less ~ HR Magazine, November 2004 ~ Consider the merits of an early settlement approach to employment litigation.
  • Conclude and Communicate ~ HR Magazine, August 2004 ~ Discipline and finesse are needed to make and deliver an investigation’s findings.
  • Private Eye 101 ~ HR Magazine, July 2004 ~ Master the fine points of conducting investigatory interviews.
  • Management by Remote Control ~ HR Magazine, April 2004 ~ When managing employees in far-off locations, keep three ingredients: knowledge, trust and connectedness.
  • It’s Not Over–Even When It’s Over ~ HR Magazine, February 2004 ~ Learn invaluable lessons by conducting an employment litigation post-mortem.
  • The Faragher/Ellerth Decision Tree ~ HR Magazine, September 2003 ~ Lower courts put new growth on five-year-old branches.
  • Skating Through the Minefield ~ HR Magazine, March 2003 ~ Keep your eyes on performance and you too can negotiate an ADA accommodation.
  • Speak Softly And Carry a Big Stick, ~ HR Magazine, January 2003 ~ When new hires come aboard or disciplinary issues arise, managers should be firm and respectful to achieve the best results.
  • Don’t Add Insult to Injury ~ HR Magazine, May 2002 ~ Often it’s not just what you do, but how you do it, that can land you in court.
  • Use It or Lose It ~ HR Magazine, April 2002 ~ Training is a waste of time and money if managers don’t transfer lessons learned to their daily work lives.
  • Soothing the EEOC Dragon ~ HR Magazine, May 2001 ~ Learn to compromise, or take your chances getting burned.
  • Great Expectations ~ HR Magazine, May 2001 ~ Expect all employees to perform and tell them when they’re not.

Podcasts & Audio

How to cure toxic relationships and apologize the right way at work.

HR Manager Nightmares: Discrimination Lawsuits, One Night Stands, and Bar Fights

Manage employees like you’ve been doing it for decades.

To build a collection of workplace stories for managers to learn from, I can’t think of a better way than a career in employment law. You get a ringside seat for just about every form of workplace behavior you could ever imagine (or would prefer not to imagine.)

If You Want Engagement Lead By Listening (What’s Your Period /Question-Mark Ratio?)

In this podcast with Pete Mockaitis of How to be Awesome at Your Job I explain how to broach difficult conversations with constructive confrontational questions in a problem solving-focused setting. We also talk about the step-by-step to a win-win conversation and the MIDAS touch method to making golden apologies. A few bonus stories from my new book are included as well!

Videos & Webinars

  • How to Avoid the Leadership Blindspot

  • What My New Book is About

  • What Makes a Great Boss

  • Engaging the Audience

  • Verbal Aikido

  • 8 Deadly Sins of Mismanagement

From dealing with underperformers to fighting off lawsuits, employee problems are the bane of a manager’s existence. So what do most managers do? Ignore them! And that’s a recipe for more problems.

In this Soundview Live webinar, True Stories from the Management Trenches, HR expert and employment attorney Jathan Janove takes you inside the messy reality of situations gone wrong. These sometimes funny, always cautionary tales reinforce crucial lessons for managers. And each story suggests simple strategies to turn the situation around.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to develop Star Profiles for each position to increase engagement and determine whether or not an employee belongs.
  • The role management plays in exacerbating (or easing) trouble.
  • The memorable lessons that help managers motivate underachievers.
  • How to use discipline without inviting legal action.

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