There are just so many books out there about being a great manager, managing people, managing yourself and so on that it's often difficult to see the wood for the trees. This is not such a book.
In this book, Hill and Lineback describe the key issues with being the boss. These are:
Managing your network
Managing your team
And that's it!
Well of course there's a lot more to it than that but in this book each of the three issues above is expanded upon in the most logical and simple of ways. This is not because the reader cannot understand fancy management-speak; it's because (for once) the key issues have been laid out as simply as they always should be. Do your team trust you? Do you look after them? Do you look after yourself? All simple issues and all covered within this book.
Unlike so many other books, this one asks "Where are you on your journey" as clearly not all bosses will be starting out for the first time. The book also contains a lot of great questions which make you really think about what's important to you (and your business) and what preferences (or styles) you may have. The book also contains a number of simple exercises to illustrate many of the key point.
This is a great book and ideal for all bosses. Its something that can be picked up and looked at time after time. The book says it's aimed at managers who want to make a difference and I believe that if handles correctly this book will make a positive difference to virtually any manager.
The book's subtitle refers to three imperatives for becoming a great leader and all are essential: Manage yourself, manage your network, and manage your team. The material is organized within three Parts, each devoted to one of the imperatives. Note the sequence. Linda Hill and Kent Lineback are quite correct when suggesting that those who cannot manage themselves effectively cannot manage anyone else effectively. It should also be noted that they are world-class pragmatists. The material they provide in their book is based on a wide and deep body of research on managers' real-world behavior. They skillfully invoke the "journey" metaphor when examining two processes: self-discovery and becoming a great leader. In fact, there is also a third process: helping others to become a great leader.
Credit Hill and Lineback with making skillful use of several reader-friendly devices such as checklists of key points that are inserted and then discussed throughout the narrative. For example, these are provided in the first four chapters:
The eight "inherent paradoxes" of management (Pages16-20)
Why the paradoxes define the fundamental nature of management (20-21)
Most common misconceptions about management (38-43)
Self-audit questions: knowing when and how to use authority (45-48)
Why being both a boss and a friend can be incompatible (52-56)
Competence and Character: The elements of trust (59-70)
Hill and Lineback also provide a Summary at the conclusion of each of the three Parts that serves as a self-assessment with regard to where the reader is at this point in the journey to become a great manager. The questions in each Summary as well as those posed elsewhere serve two separate but interdependent purposes, both of them critically important: They challenge the reader to determine progress re both the journey of self-discovery and the journey of leadership development. The reader is thus actively involved in the dual process, rather than merely reading about it.
To me, some of the most valuable material is provided in Chapter as Hill and Lineback help the reader to "define the future" to derive nine substantial benefits (147-151). They explain how and why to formulate a written plan to encourage their reader to communicate goals and involve others. They also recommend an unwritten plan exists in the reader's mind "as a living, evolving understanding" of what to do, where the journey's destination is located, why the reader seeks it, and how to reach it. "Think of your written plan as a partial snapshot of your unwritten plan at a given moment. That written plan will differ from your broader, more fluid, and more disorganized unwritten plan in key ways."
Readers will appreciate the fact that Hill and Lineback explain in detail the three key elements of a written plan and then provide a series of direct questions to guide and inform its creation. Some questions address immediate issues, others intermediate issues, and still others issues that are "one year and three or more years out." It is imperative that the reader be clear about her or his current situation, equally clear about where she or he wants to be in the future, and then specific about how to get from the current situation to the ultimate destination. Individuals as well as members of a team must answer these questions. Great leaders ensure that all answers are correct and complete.
Linda Hill and Kent Lineback fully understand - and appreciate - how difficult it is to embark and then remain on the journey they propose. They wrote this book for aspiring leaders and offer additional assistance at the website identified on Page 255. If viewed as "gardeners," great leaders "grow" other great leaders. That is perhaps the single greatest obligation - and satisfaction - of "being the boss."
on 24 June 2013
There are hundreds of books on management and being a manager, but you will do very well if you read and learn from "Being the Boss". According to the authors, management is difficult because of its inherent paradoxes which you will encounter everyday as a manager. Some of the paradoxes are:
1. You are responsible for what others do. To be successful requires you work through them and with them rather than issue directives.
2. You must both develop your people and evaluate them. Dealing with both being coach and judge presents one of the most difficult and challenging aspects of being the boss.
3. You must make your group a cohesive team without losing sight of the individuals on it.
4. You must sometimes do harm in order to do a greater good. For example when you must lay off people or promote only 1 out of 3 good candidates.
The job of a manager despite the paradoxes is to create in his team a real sense of commitment to the work such that they put in the effort required to achieve great results and care about the results. In order to help you become an effective manager, the authors designed a framework around 3 imperatives: manage yourself, manage your network and manage your team.
Managing yourself deals with the changes required in how you think about yourself and your new role, how to relate to others as a boss and how to influence others. Managing your network deals with how you create your own network and deal effectively with the political side of organizational life. Managing your team is about managing all those in your team for whom you are responsible. It is about creating a high performance team that is more than the sum of the individuals in it.
The rest of the book focused on how to become better at managing the 3 imperatives and also the important role of self-assessment. Throughout the book, readers are encouraged to examine themselves in the light of each imperative and to take responsibility for their development.
Overall, a useful manual on how to be an excellent boss. Highly recommended.
on 21 August 2012
Even great managers face unprecedented challenges in an economic climate characterized by constant innovation, chaos and general unpredictability. Harvard professor of business administration Linda A. Hill and business writer Kent Lineback offer a lucid blend of cogent theory and practical strategies. They educate and inspire novice and experienced leaders who want to practice the fundamentals of good management. getAbstract recommends this deftly organized, clearly presented, practical guide primarily to new and middle managers but also to anyone who aspires to be a great boss.