The Week That Was

Take a break from putting up that massive Christmas tree by reading these top five stories from Talentmgt.com for the week of Dec. 2.

1. Got Skills? The Evolving Mid-Manager Skill Set: The competencies required to be a successful midlevel manager skew toward soft skills steeped in influencing and motivating people. Talent Management editor Frank Kalman has more in the December issue’s special report on assessments and measurement.

2. Measuring the Middle: The middle level of an organization is often viewed as the most critical. Companies can use tools such as personality and skill assessments to measure the traits that help to make a midlevel manager successful. Talent Management editor Frank Kalman with more in this issue’s special report on assessments and measurement.

3. Technology’s Positive and Negative Effects on Behavior: An oldie but a good from early October, blogger Aubrey Daniels explains the two-headed monster that technology can be when it comes to human behavior.

4. Focus Performance Management on Contributions: Ongoing performance conversations are more productive when goals are clear, feedback is mostly positive and coaching is available. John Slater and David Witt with The Ken Blanchard Cos. have the story.

5. Evaluation vs. Development: Most companies use assessments of some kind to measure their midlevel manager ranks. How they’re used is where variation comes in. Talent Management editor Frank Kalman has more.

In Other News …

Many know Jay-Z as a rapper. Others recognize him as a business mogul. And still others are coming to see the famous New York native as a sports agent. No matter what hat Jay-Z appears to be wearing on a given day, he is one thing: successful.

Even if you don’t care for rap, or his music, or his clothing line, there’s plenty to be learned from Jay-Z in the business and talent management worlds. LifeHacker wrote up some of Jay-Z’s most interesting productivity tricks — from training the brain to effectively memorize information (or, in his case, lyrics to rap songs), to collaboration, to budgeting. Read the article here.

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Also, want to become a better business writer? Here are 7 tips, via Business Insider.