Bruce held our partners spellbound for two and a half hours.
Graham Baragwanath, Managing Partner (fmr.), Deloitte Consulting Canada
Oct 1, 2014

Why 27??
Why are there 27 challenges, instead of 26 or 28 or some other number?


I’m thrilled to report: My new book is out!!!! My dear dear publishers at Wiley/Jossey-Bass tell me that copies of The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems are hitting bookstores — and Amazon warehouses — at this very moment. I hope you will order one for yourself and one for every manager you know.   The book is intentionally designed to be used and re-used as a reference book—- a hands-on management tool you may go back to over and over again throughout your career as a leader/manager/supervisor. If you look at the table of contents, you’ll see that the 27 challenges are arranged into chapters based on the larger themes they have in common. My hope is that reading the whole thing beginning to end is like putting yourself through “management fundamentals” boot camp. Then, of course, put it on your shelf until you need a refresher on your next real-life challenge.  And please do write and let me know what you think of the book —  I’d love to get your feedback.

Order Now!

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Stay strong!




The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems

“All Management Problems Solved in One Book???!!”

Managing people is harder now than ever before. What can a real manager in the real world actually do in the face of today’s daunting challenges? Here’s your chance to find out! Bruce’s newest book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face, has hit the shelves!

Order Now!


Huffington Post

“Becoming the Boss” a Q&A with author Lindsey Pollak

September 29, 2014

Training Magazine

Introducing The 27 Challenges Managers Face

September 29, 2014

Annoying Management Problems Resolved By Focused Talk

September 24, 2014

Psychology Today

How To Do Life: Fresh ideas about career and personal issues

September 18, 2014

WMBD 1470 Radio

Radio Interview with Bruce

September 16, 2014

Fast Company

5 Keys to Keeping Your Superstars Engaged

September 12, 2014

Bruce Tulgan Outlines 27 Biggest Challenges and Provides Expert Solutions to Management Problems in Wiley’s New Book

Featured in:

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September 11, 2014

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When Going from Peer to Leader

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Too Many Bosses: Learn how to manage people who report to more than just you

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Introducing Generation Z: The first definitive study on the next generation to enter the workforce

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When I talk about the 27 challenges, people often ask me, “Why are there 27 challenges, instead of 26 or 28 or some other number?” We are focused on 27 particular challenges because our research shows that these 27 challenges are by far the most common employee situations with which managers most often struggle (and the step-by-step solutions to solving them). That’s based on twenty years of workplace research!

At RainmakerThinking, Inc., we’ve asked hundreds of thousands of managers, in our management seminars, focus groups, interviews, and surveys, some version of this open-ended question: “Which employee situations are most challenging for you as a manager?” Despite the diversity of people and situations, the same basic challenges come up repeatedly. In fact, more than 90% of responses over the years refer to these same 27 challenges.

In our advanced management seminars, I take experienced managers through one problem-solving session after another. In these problem-solving sessions, we focus on one real life case study after another—the real employees the managers are really managing in the real world. “Who are the employees with whom you are really struggling? What are the really tough cases?”

Like clockwork, the same basic cases come up over and over again—- the same 27—- maybe it’s the superstar whom the manager is afraid of losing, the slacker whom the manager cannot figure out how to motivate, the one with an attitude problem, or the two who cannot get along.

What’s truly astounding is how (nearly) every challenge—-even the most difficult—- yields to the withering medicine of relentless high-quality communication.

The 27 Challenges are the problems with which managers most often struggle along with the best step-by-step solutions, based on twenty years of workplace research conducted by RainmakerThinking, Inc. The research shows that most of the challenges derive from or are made much worse by unstructured, low substance, hit-or-miss communication. Likewise, almost always the best solution comes from applying the fundamentals of management. The 27 Challenges are enumerated NOT in order of frequency or difficulty, but rather according to the bigger picture human capital issues in which the challenges fall.

The Challenges of Being the “New” Manager are about dealing well with leadership transitions:

  • Management Challenge #1: When Going from Peer to Leader
  • Management Challenge #2: When Coming from the Outside to Take Over Leadership of an Existing Team
  • Management Challenge #3: When Bringing Together an Entirely New Team
  • Management Challenge #4: When You are Welcoming a New Member to Your Existing Team

The Challenges of Teaching Self-Management are about how managers can help employees improve their basic work habits:

  • Management Challenge #5: When Employees Have a Hard Time Managing Time
  • Management Challenge #6: When the Employee Needs Help with Interpersonal Communication
  • Management Challenge #7: When the Employee Needs to Get Organized
  • Management Challenge #8: When the Employee Needs to Get Better at Problem-Solving

The Challenges of Managing Performance are about continuous improvement and innovation:

  • Management Challenge #9: When You Have an Employee Who Needs to Increase Productivity
  • Management Challenge #10: When You Have an Employee Who Needs to Improve Quality
  • Management Challenge #11: When You Need an Employee to Start “Going the Extra Mile”
  • Management Challenge #12: When Your Employees are Doing ‘Creative’ Work
  • Management Challenge #13: When the Employee You are Managing Knows More About the Work Than You Do

The Challenges of Managing Attitudes are about the intangibles of human performance that so affect morale, wellness, and human relations:

  • Management Challenge #14: When an Employee Needs an Attitude Adjustment
  • Management Challenge #15: When there is Conflict Between and Among Individuals on Your Team
  • Management Challenge #16: When an Employee has Personal Issues at Home

The Challenges of Managing Superstars are about talent development, rewards and retention:

  • Management Challenge #17: When There is a Superstar You Need to Keep Engaged
  • Management Challenge #18: When You Have a Superstar You Really Want to Retain
  • Management Challenge #19: When You Have a Superstar You are Going to Lose For Sure: How to Lose That Superstar Very Well
  • Management Challenge #20: When You Need to Move a Superstar to the Next Level to Develop As a New Leader

The Challenges of Managing Around Forces Outside Your Control are about adaptability and focus:

  • Management Challenge #21: When Managing in an Environment of Constant Change and Uncertainty
  • Management Challenge #22: When Managing Under Resource Constraints
  • Management Challenge #23: When Managing Through Interdependency
  • Management Challenge # 24: When Managing Around Logistical Hurdles
  • Management Challenge #25: When Managing Across Different Languages and Cultures

The Challenges of Management Renewal are about accountability and behavior modification:

  • Management Challenge #26: When You Need to Renew Your Management Relationship with a Disengaged Employee
  • Management Challenge #27: When You Need to Renew Your Own Commitment to Being a Strong, Highly-Engaged Manager

Challenge after challenge, the research shows that, when things are going wrong in a management relationship, almost always, the common denominator is unstructured, low substance, hit-or-miss communication and almost always the solution comes from applying the fundamentals of management: One challenge after another, the most effective managers gain control of any situation through regular and consistent high-structure high-substance one-on-one dialogue with the employee in question and a more focused step-by-step solution to the problem at hand unfolds in the process.


How to Talk Like a Performance Coach

Lesson 11 from the It’s Okay to Be the Boss video training program at RainmakerThinking.Training.