Note from Paula: Check out a complete list of book reviews here.
This week I settled down in a comfy chair with a book about how to lead people. The book, Management Basics, stresses the importance of a collaborative approach.
That’s a fitting lesson: The book itself is a collaboration between a professional writer, Sandra Gurvis, and a professional manager, Barbara May, an Ohio woman who leads a team of 300 employees at a major communications firm.
The women compare managing employees with having children:
- Your job is to nurture them and bring out their potential
- You want to help them become independent and make good decisions
- They look to you as a role model and a standard-setter
- You occasionally need to referee differences between two kids/employees, without appearing as though you’re “taking sides”
- Your decisions greatly affect them
The 80/20 Rule
Throughout the book, the authors often reference the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule.
This rule states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts (and, conversely, 80 percent of your problems come from 20 percent of your clients/sources).
The authors apply this rule to many situations.
“Have you ever worked with someone who appears to spend more of his time planning what to do, rather than actually doing it?” they ask. “Far more detail seems to go into the little plans than the big ones.”
He needs guidance to help him plan only the most critical 20 percent, they say.
The authors devote much of the book to discussing personalities and passion levels.
You’ll find people who are “committed” — “I want to do it!” – and you’ll find people who merely “accept” the work – “I have to do it.”
You’ll find results-oriented, “bottom-line” people – they want you to cut to the chase – and you’ll find process-oriented, “detail” people – they seek the comfort of a little more micromanagement.
What’s Your Motivation?
Don’t assume you know what motivates people, the authors say. Not everyone wants a promotion. Not everyone cares about a raise.
But genuine praise, they say, is a great motivator.
Stick to Your Values
Although the book discusses management in a traditional workplace, many of the lessons apply to daily life. The authors discuss the importance of integrity:
- Stay true to your word.
- Accept responsibility for your mistakes.
- Never speak badly about someone behind their back.
The same principles that apply to running a great family, they say, also help you run a great business.
Should I Read It?
This Book is For You If: You want a basic overview of good leadership. Although the book is written for an office-manager audience, the lessons in this book can be applied to any type of leadership (raising kids, coaching sports, running a theater troupe.)
This Book is NOT For You If: You’re looking for specific, technical or advanced leadership or management strategies. This book is broad and general.
Bonus — Management Basics is only $2 dollars at Amazon. Check it out!
Thanks to Buddhawiggi for today’s photo.
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