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Shifting the Monkey: The Art of Protecting Good from Liars, Criers, and Other Slackers

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  345 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Poor employees get a disproportionate amount of attention. Why? Because they complain the loudest, create the greatest disruptions, and rely on others to assume the responsibilities that they shirk. Learn how to focus on your good employees first, and help them shift these "monkeys" back to the underperformers. Through a simple but brilliant metaphor, Whitaker helps you re ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 30th 2012 by Triple Nickel Press (first published December 30th 2011)
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Jul 03, 2012 Susie rated it it was amazing
This book will help me think differently about dealing with people. I plan to put some type of monkey on my desk as a reminder! I've had the privilege of hearing Whitaker speak, and I just gave his book What Great Principals Do Differently to a friend who became a principal for the first time.

This book is very blunt and direct, so it's very easy to "get the point"! Take this sentence, the first in the Epilogue: "There's a never-ending supply of lazy, uncaring, and poorly performing workers who w
Jul 06, 2014 Charles rated it liked it
My mom came to visit me last month, and brought Shifting the Monkey with her, so I could read it. If she hadn’t loaned it to me, I probably never would have gotten around to reading it, but I’m glad I did. Most of the advice was pretty good. I think the two biggest takeaways for me were “treat all people like good people” and “don’t rewrite the rules for the bad people.” I don’t want to reiterate what’s in the book, and it’s barely over a hundred pages, so if either of those ideas stick out as s ...more
Ken Bassett
Revisits "One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey" by Ken Blanchard

I like Todd Whitaker's work. He is an inspiring speaker and powerful motivator. This book offers a compelling lesson about the importance of knowing how to keep your staff accountable by letting them own their role and associated responsibilities. It helps leaders avoid reverse delegation. The book offers practical examples and is an easy read.

My only criticism is that the concept was fully developed in another author's work, which
Michael Bell
Jul 25, 2012 Michael Bell rated it liked it
I hated to give this book three stars because I am a fan of Todd Whitaker; that being said, I liked the book, but it was directed at businesspeople in general instead of educators, who have been Whitaker's typical audience. The book is a quick read, only about 115 pages and you can complete it within a few days or a week depending on how quickly you read. The book is not difficult to read and has many examples of putting the author's techniques into practice. There are a couple of techniques I p ...more
Phil Giunta
Dec 08, 2013 Phil Giunta rated it really liked it
Indiana State University professor Todd Whitaker takes a humorous and insightful approach to handling slackers in the workplace using the old metaphor of "monkey on the back". Essentially, when poor performing employees force their peers or managers to take up their slack, or provide poor customer service, they are essentially "shifting the monkey" of responsibility off themselves.

Whitaker condenses his message down to three principles:

Where is the monkey?
Where should the monkey be?
How do I shif
Holly Chesser
Feb 04, 2013 Holly Chesser rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Educators
Whether the setting is a school, an office, or even your home, there’s always someone who doesn’t follow the rules. For instance, who hasn’t endured dirty cups or plates in the sink, left with the assumption that they will simply clean themselves? When the irritation becomes unbearable, an email is sent out or a meeting is scheduled to let everyone know that leaving a mess behind will no longer be tolerated. It’s a fair request, but you, who don’t drink coffee or never leave a crumb behind, reac ...more
May 10, 2015 Jessyca rated it liked it
1. Where is the monkey? 2. Where should the monkey be? 3. How do I shift the monkey to its proper place? I am a huge fan of Todd Whitaker, and this is a great and practical book for any leader. I like the no nonsense approach to handling difficult employees while treating everyone as if they are good. Protects your best workers is a must. I hope I can only be the kind of leader that my employees need of me!
Alex T.
Mar 07, 2016 Alex T. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
Dr. Todd Whitaker provides excellent advice on how leaders can make sure that their best people don't end up doing the work of the worst people by putting responsibility back on those who need to have it. Easy to read but challenging to implement when your organisation has a culture of supporting the liars, criers, and slackers.
I heard about this book in a class I took this summer. Though it focuses on the business world, I can see clear implications for the classroom. I will definitely think twice before I hold my whole class for the actions of a few. Some very good things to consider for my students and fir my colleagues.
Jul 23, 2016 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donated
Picked this book up from Stevenson. Pretty good management book. Basically says to reward those who do well, build up those who aren't doing so well, and dont let the haters poison the achievers. I remember reading it why cycling at the 24 hour gym.
Hannah Goedert
Jun 25, 2016 Hannah Goedert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and helpful ideas

I am a non confrontational person so I often take on a lot of monkeys. This book gave useful tools to learn to respectably shift problems back to those they belong to!!
Jan 03, 2016 Liz rated it liked it
Read this book for work, as did the entire administrative team. Not overwhelmed. Not many new ideas, if you've read books like this in the past. Be a good person, but don't carry others.
Steve Meinen
Aug 19, 2016 Steve Meinen rated it it was amazing
While I have worked with many excellent teachers, this book is real talk and a must-read for any school administrator. It contains advice on how to coach the problem player in the school and/or district i.e the faultfinder/criticizer, time wasters, the anti-administration malcontent, and the divisive force. Although the book is geared to dealing with difficult teachers, the principles contained therein can also be transferred to diffuse the negative influence of the problem school administrator ...more
Sheryl Sullivan
Apr 28, 2015 Sheryl Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned some new tricks

The book offered some practical tips for my new position in management. I recommend it. Why five more words Amazon?
Susan B. Saxe
Dec 30, 2014 Susan B. Saxe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book gave me lots to think about

You need to read this book ! Makes you see people for who they are. It will make your life easier.
I read this book for a leadership cohort and I loved the simplicity of the language and simple strategies that are easy to implement at every level.
Elizabeth Wright
Sep 07, 2015 Elizabeth Wright rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-2016
I liked the advice on how to protect your good people from taking on too much and holding your slackers accountable for their share. Treating lies as.if they were truths, not engaging in arguments, and not accepting the same excuse are all great tips.
Aug 07, 2015 Phil rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, especially if you are in a leadership position. It is a very quick and easy read with lots of great advice.
Jun 11, 2015 Teri rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
easy read. rather obvious. interesting metaphor. like the concept of protecting your good employees.
Feb 22, 2015 Violet rated it liked it
Had to read this for work and I'm glad I did.
Corinne Campbell
This was recommended to me by some school principals. It's about how to get the best out of your team and how to manage problem staff. Some interesting advice, but I'm not sure if I'd trust it. I'm not sure how the author is qualified to tell us how to manage difficult people. Sure, he has experience as a school principal, but does that qualify him? The advice seems based on opinion, not research.

However a lot of the advice is very sensible sounding, and I'm sure I'll be referring back to it whe
Rick Gilson
Certainly easy to see that we all function in the jungle full of monkeys. At times we are leaders or managers working to control the monkeys in our lives, at other times I suspect we are the monkeys in other people's lives. The lessons apply in business, families, and most certainly all aspects of schools. I particularly am interested in pondering the tide of policies when perhaps we should be focusing on ensuring we've correctly identified the barrel of monkeys at play and who should take owner ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Mimi rated it really liked it
I've worked in HR for many years and have coached supervisors & managers on how to motivate employees and how to be effective managers. "Shifting the Monkey" offers many examples of problem employees and what to do advice in simple terms/actions to take. It might be a tad too simplistic.

My spouse and I had some fun using a few of the recommended actions on his team work issues. Can't say it all worked, but it was worth a try! And now, everytime he complains, I cry "There's a monkey on my ba
Aug 04, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book helped me see ways to make sure I don't take on more responsibilities than I should, especially when I'm sponsoring Student Council at my school. I tend to step in and take care of things instead of making sure the right students are doing their jobs. This was a good reminder to read this summer. The author is a professor of educational leadership, and I wish he had used more school examples/scenarios in this book, which is quite short. I think I read it in one sitting.
May 22, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it
lots of good practical advice to put the monkeys back where they belong!!
Justine Philyaw
Mar 05, 2013 Justine Philyaw rated it liked it
I often find how-to books like this pretty repetitive and without much practical application. This book is a good exception- probably because it is written by an educator. The narrative is short, to the point, and has helpful examples. The subtitle really says it all. There are slackers everywhere. If you are in a position of leadership, at any level, within any organization, these principles apply. Worth a read.
Oct 07, 2012 Jane rated it liked it

This was a good overview of the monkey metaphor and how to view it in the modern workplace (the concept was around since the 50's). I think he stretched it a bit too far by including things like worry and customer perception. I would have liked him to spend more time on the how. How do you shift the task or problem back on the responsible party besides repeating yourself unemotionally?
Kate Carlson
Jun 09, 2013 Kate Carlson rated it really liked it
This book showed me ways in which I take on the responsibilities (aka monkeys) of others in both my personal and professional lives. It gives concrete methods to keep this from happening and shifting those monkeys to the backs of their "rightful owners." It was also helpful in helping me to identify ways to help my students keep their own monkeys instead of me taking on their responsibilities for them.
Dec 17, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me by a coworker. I recommend this book to anybody that manages employees. There is a fine balance between people putting things onto others plates and managers have to shift it back to ensure an equal balance. This book is something I will read over and over again to remind myself not to take the easy way out and say I will take care of it and end up always fixing the problems.
Carolyn Stuart
Jul 16, 2012 Carolyn Stuart rated it liked it
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