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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  764 ratings  ·  94 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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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  764 ratings  ·  94 reviews

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Laurie McKay
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for leaders. It allows for self-reflection and gives some ideas when you, or a co-worker, are taking on too much responsibility.
Jeremy Duffle
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, practical tips on handling and dividing work load.
Kimberly Duffle
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
Great book about how to not only delegate, but delegate in a way not to punish employees!
Jul 03, 2012 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
May 10, 2015 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!
Dec 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was given to me as a gift by my principal. We had recently had a discussion about why I seemed to constantly be pulled into situations involving students who were not part of my caseload (I am a school counselor), even when the student’s assigned counselor was available. Although I will always help any student in crisis, whether they are “my student” or not, I am often approached by teachers, staff, and even the school resource officer regarding non-emergency situations that should be ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Quick read with value about not shifting blame or making others take on the work of the less hard working. Referred to it when experiencing frustration in my own work place, when many felt being penalized for some co-workers misusing or not abiding by intent of policies or procedures. Glad that Kerry recommended it, it was valuable, but not earthshattering. I liked what he proposed as the direct approach to addressing poor behavior and also focusing on strengths and what people did well.

Hope to
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-group, self-help
I really don't like these kind of books, but read it for book group. It was ok. The metophor of the monkey seemed very odd to me, but some of the basic ideas of civility and addressing the problem people or policies directly were good. He lost me, though, when he then suggested dealing with problem workers indirectly--for fo example, "confiding" with them that people were talking about them in an attempt to get them to act differently. I really think that it's better to be straightforward with p ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was disappointing. As an educational leader, I was looking for teacher related answers but the material doesn’t seem to apply. Whitaker states, “As leaders, we must learn to identify the myriad of monkeys the slothful, uncaring folks gleefully shift to anyone they can convince, or force, to accept.” I don’t find that to be true. Many of my less than stellar performers (teachers and staff) are just incompetent, not willfully slothful or uncaring. So the suggestions in the book were, on ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent for leaders who supervise others and/or who work with difficult people. It helped me reframe the way I approach situations where I need to deal with either chronic or one-off individual behaviors. One colleague commented that the word "monkey" is used too much, but I found that to help drill in the point of the book, which is to ensure that the monkey is where it belongs. Fairly short and easy to read. ...more
Christopher Hunt
I give this book an "meh." Lots of theory and not a lot of workable solutions. The premise is on target and aptly describes many organizations but the author's recommendations are not always plausible. Sometimes you have to realize that there are workers who are liars, criers, and slackers and the only solution is to fire their asses.
Julian Walker
A light read with useful tips on managing people and issues.
This simple concept about controlling responsibility provides a nice introduction into management techniques, is easy to grasp, and straightforward to read.
The author gives good illustrative examples and it makes the process easier to implement in real life.
Kevin Driskill
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource for interpersonal relations and especially for management and supervisors. How to protect good employees and encourage poor employees to do better. An entertaining, informative, quick read.
Lizzy Neiger
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This should be a must read for every person who leads in any sphere of life. This gets at the heart of really caring for and keeping your best people. Todd Whitaker always has insightful things to say, and this book is no exception.
Karen Keyes
Aug 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: english-dept-rec
There were a few take-aways (treat everyone well and assume positive intent- though he does it as a sadistic mind game to trick people into revealing their incompetence), however, this book was mysogynistic and the epitome of antiquated white male cisgender views on leadership and the workplace.
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must read book for all leaders in a managerial position. I really enjoyed this one, even though I tend to gravitate towards fiction. Its a quick read, can probably finish it in under 2 hours. It offers situations, and solutions and over all a great eye opening book.
Deryck Shane
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book that actually makes a lot of sense in terms of what it recommends. I did find myself disagreeing with some advice, as some advice felt a bit contradictory compared to others he gave. Overall, though, this book gave me new ways of thinking about effective leadership.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An easy read that really put the monkeys on my mind. Should probably get a monkey for my office as a reminder. All leaders should read this book.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Good information, but very repetitive! Could've been written in about 20 pages ...more
Sarah Bell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I recognise some monkeys in my workplace, have been some of the monkeys myself and am going to try to avoid shifting too many monkeys in future!
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Easily a leadership book I could read every year. Quick read with helpful reminders.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All of the wisdom!!!!!!!!! Love, love, love!
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book! This information is good for employees as well as leaders.
Jessica Bailey
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

I love this book. It is an eye opener. I like that it goes into detail on what the different monkeys are and how to deal with them.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
A great take on how to support your best people - and keep those who are slacking off from taking over your workplace. So many applications to teaching and education too!
Ricardo Garcia
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you're tired of doing work for other people, then this is a must read! ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting but very repetitive
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some good ideas but they are repeated over and over and over, even for such a slim volume.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read with entertaining stories. Reminds any leader to remember what is important, as opposed to what is noisy.
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