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Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership Paperback – 1 May 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591391822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591391821
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 380,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Becoming a Manager is a must-read guide for companies that want to maximize the success of their future leaders."

About the Author

Linda A. Hill is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior Area at the Harvard Business School.

She is faculty chair, Leadership Initiative, and faculty chair, the Young Presidents’ Organization Presidents’ Seminar.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A guide to the challenges facing new managers, and a good reference source for anyone who wants to understand the transition from team player to manager. Hill's book is full of interesting a useful insights. The main drawback is it is a classic academic's book. I don't mean it is overly intellectual - it is not, it is clear and generally well written. But it has lots of observations about new managers - but few recommendations. Most managers reading a book like this are looking for advice, and not observations on how managers behave. Still, it does not take a rocket scientist to interpret her findings into practical advice and I recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the challenges of the new manager. Ironically, it will probably be more meaningful to someone who has some experience - you will find yourself regularly thinking "oh yes, I was like that on my first management role".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really shows that you can't just give formal orientation (basic management skills and knowledge, policies and procedures)that first time managers need.

You have to take first time managers through some fundamental basics - their new personal identity (the period of growth in their first 12 months and the stresses/emotions of it all) and the weight of expectations from everywhere, examining the key management competencies and finally how to understand about the art of managing people and building relationships.

This information will help them in the transition or transformation (like a caterpillar to a butterfly!).

A really great book adding a new dimension to anyone interested in (first time) management development.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Related to the experiences in this book 24 Aug. 2016
By S. Berg - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a new manager, I very much related to the experiences depicted in the book. I'd recommend this to anyone who is new or newish to a people-leader position.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for managers (new or old) 2 Jan. 2005
By RamblingLibrarian - Published on
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this to anyone involved in "management", particularly where you have to lead people.

The value of this book -- to me -- was not that it revealed anything new (most managers would instinctively know what the issues are when working with a team). What it did for me was to give me assurance that the trials and tribulations that I've gone through (some of which are daily occurances) are normal. That told me that I AM NOT ALONE! -- for management is a lonely business.

This book took me sometime to finish (440 over pages) but a very readable book. Not overly academic. I particularly liked the section on "Is Management Really for Me?".
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Be like a duck.. 30 Dec. 2011
By Nilendu Misra - Published on
Format: Paperback
Some insights from the highly readable book -

1) 80% of the time people reach out to you as their manager is for a 'negative' reason. Do not be a Prima Donna and let it effect your outside reaction. Be like a duck, calm and serene on outside and paddle like hell underneath.

2) Learning is a two-way street. Your manager also learns from you. Exchanging candid feedback is like a protected left turn, however, where your manager always has prerogative.

3) First line manager has significant higher number of pulls - one from upper chain of management, another from multiple personalities who are deeply embedded into delivery.

4) Managing people is often being able to deal with 'half-truths'.

5) When top individual performers become manager, it is often 'heap reversal'. Organization takes a superstar from the top of the heap, and puts her at the bottom of another. This indeed causes the big surprise.

6) Never manage out of fear.

7) Delegation is one of the toughest part to figure out. The rope extended could be too high, where people feel left out and on their own; or too low where managed feel trampled by micro-decisions. 'Supportive Autonomy' - to work as coach where needed is one good model to tune the delegation.

8) Successful career in management is like climbing a ladder - skipped rungs almost always create a safety hazard.

9) Formal authority is a limited source of power.

10) Managing is about

i) Establishing Direction = [Develop a vision for future] + [Craft Strategies to achieve the vision]

Tools needed for the above -
a) Inductive Reasoning
b) Multidimensional Thinking
c) Risk Taking
d) Ability to make sense of complex and ambiguous data

ii) Aligning People = [Communicating vision and strategies through words and deeds]

Tools needed for the above -
a) Empathy
b) Abilities to build credibility and communicate with diverse constituencies
c) Willingness & Ability to empower

iii) Motivate & Inspire = [Energizing people to overcome Political, Bureaucratic & Resource barriers]

Tools needed for the above -
a) Abilities to exercise power & influence to change behavior
b) Attitudes & Values of diverse constituency
c) Managing Performance & Coaching Talents
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag 8 Jan. 2008
By Robert Selden - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the second edition of Becoming a Manager and although only three chapters have been added, their impact is considerable.

The original edition is based on interviews with 19 new managers and their thoughts on becoming a manager. As such, it was an interesting, but somewhat hard going (sentences and paragraphs are wordy), read. Although the 19 managers are all from customer service or sales, their stories translate well to other professions.

This latest edition adds chapters on Exercising Influence Without Formal Authority, Building an Effective Team, and Learning For A Lifetime. I found the chapter on teams a little light in it's description of process management. However, it's these chapters and in particular the one on influence, that makes this book much more useful for the new manager than the first edition. Every manager should use Hill's description of sources of personal and positional power to improve their influencing.

By Hill's own admission, she has become far more prescriptive in the latest edition and this is a real benefit for readers. For instance, in the most recent chapters, Hill asks questions that will enable the manager to apply the key concepts being covered. But, these "how to"s are hard to find.

If you are a big picture person, or someone who likes to get plenty of "how to" action type suggestions, then this book is not for you. However, if you are someone who always wants to know the reason "why?" something works or doesn't work, you will enjoy this book.

Bob Selden, author of What To Do When You Become The Boss: How new managers become successful managers
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Book 28 Jun. 2006
By Rachel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I found this book insightful and validating. I transitioned from being a healthcare professional to a manager of a clinic. Despite the difference in practice areas between this book and my own career (sales vs. healthcare), I still found the findings in the book to be important. Whether you're transitioning to manager from a position of top performer in terms of money or in terms of some other measure of achievement (such as quality of patient care or number of new innovations, for example), the lessons of this book still apply. I highly recommend this book to new managers and to THEIR managers.
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