When it comes to popularized management/leadership wisdom, there are a lot of balloons of ignorance out there, many of them reinforced by self interest and self confidence. Fortunately Henry Mintzberg is also out there, popping those balloons with intelligence, style and wit. You can learn a great deal, about management and otherwise, by reading this masterpiece.
p.s. Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference.
How you would like to be managed by someone who doesn't lead? That would be dispiriting. Well, then, why would you want to be led by someone who doesn't manage? That could be disengaging; how are such leaders to know what is going on? Pg7
Today we should be more worried about macroleading from people in senior positions who try to manage by remote control, disconnected from everything except the big picture. It has become popular to talk about us being overmanaged and underled. I believe we are now overled and undermanaged. Instead of distinguishing leaders from managers, we should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well. Pg7
Managing - Put together a good deal of craft with the right touch of art alongside some use of science, and you end up with a job that is above all a practice, learned through experience and rooted in context. Pg9
To succeed, manages have to become proficient at their superficiality. It has been said that an expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until finally he or she knows everything about nothing. The manager's problem is the opposite: knowing less and less about more and more until finally he or she knows nothing about everything. Pg21
Thinking is heavy - too much of it can wear a manager down - while acting is light - too much of that and the manager cannot stay put. Moreover, too much leading can result in a job free of content - aimless, frameless, and actionless - while too much linking can produce a job detached from its roots - it becomes public relations. The manager who only communicates never gets anything done, while the manager who only does ends up doing it all alone. And the manager who only control risks controlling an empty shell of yes men and women....The manger has to practice a well-rounded job. Pg66
Effective managers do not exhibit perfect balance among the roles, but rather a dynamic balance across them, as they tilt back and forth between them. Pg70
It has been said of great athletes that they see the game just a little bit slower than the other players, and so they can make that last second maneuver. Perhaps this is also a characteristics of effective managers; faced with great pressure, they can cool it, sometimes just for a moment, to make that thoughtful maneuver. Pg110
All alone, the managers have to convey the impression that they know where they are going, even when they are not sure, so that others feel safe to follow. In other words, managers often have to feign confidence. For modest managers, this can be difficult enough; for the supremely confident, it may be not difficult at all, just catastrophic. Pg131
Events are always unfolding. And major events usually unfold unpredictably. So the trick is to know when to wait, despite the cost of the delay, and when to act, despite unforeseeable consequences. Pg134
These paradoxes, predicaments, labyrinths, riddles and others are built into managerial work - they are managing - and there they shall remain. To repeat a key point, they can be alleviated but never eliminated, reconciled but never resolved. Pg138
Managers certainly think in order to act, but they also act in order to think - to discover what works. And above all, they think while they act. Pg161