Does the world need another management book? My conviction
that it doesand that it especially needs this management bookand
my enthusiasm for writing the book you hold in your hands developed as a result
of my experiences when I first found myself in a management role. Like many others
before and after me, I was quite good at my job (as a research scientist), and
so I got promoted to be a manager of research scientists. Despite being given
no training to help me prepare for my new role, I soon found myself in charge
of a staff of fifteen research scientists who looked to me for management and
leadership. From the start, I faced a multitude of problems that I felt sure had
been faced by thousands of managers before me, and for which I suspected there
must be a wealth of tried-and-tested solutions from which to choose.
Still most comfortable in my role as a research scientist,
I went in search of books to read that would explain the basic theory and practice
of management. My first stop was a good local bookshop, where I found a dozen
shelves full of management books. Scanning the shelves quickly, I discovered management
books on hundreds of fascinating topics: Some were aimed at students in MBA programs;
others concentrated on a particular management theory, such as total quality assurance
or reengineering; some were written by the growing number of management gurus;
still others were anecdotal accounts from industry luminaries. A surprising number
of books were aimed either at students or at top executives within an organization.
What I did not find were books that encapsulated best practice for someone facing
management responsibilities for the first time. By the time I found such a book,
I was well into my management career and had learned enough to know that I did
not agree with much of what it contained.
Having come to the conclusion that the book I needed as a front-line manager
did not exist, I became enthused with the idea of writing one. In preparing this
book, I have applied my training as a research scientist to the task: Much of
what I have written has been influenced by existing work on management theory
and is based on the theories that underpin management, such as psychology. However,
I have not set out to write a scholarly tome; I believe passionately that there
is a lot to be said about the subject of management and leadership that can be
described straightforwardly, in black-and-white, unambiguous terms.
I have tried to codify in this book how to manage and lead
well. I am sure you have experienced the effects of bad management, and that you
know instantly when your management does something that is de-motivating, crass,
or apparently stupid. Nevertheless, some things often taken for granted are improved
by explanation. Accordingly, where I have explained the reasons behind the techniques,
I do so because I hope you will find those reasons interesting and informative.
However, the best test of the techniques is to apply them and see if they work
Who Should Read
I believe that
the most important levels of management in an organization are the top and the
bottom. There are lots of books for chief executives, but I've found no good books
for those who manage the workers directly responsible for creating the real value
within an organization. This book targets those front-line managers within medium
and large organizations, but a lot of what I describe will apply to small companies
as well. The sorts of people for whom I wrote this book might think of themselves
as team leaders or section leaders, but it is most specifically for someone undertaking
such a job for the first time. More experienced managers should enjoy reading
it to compare how much of my analysis of good practice agrees with their own.
The book follows my own journey through management, telling
the reader the sorts of things I wish I had known when I started. It is divided
into chapters that treat the following broad topics:
Managing People as Individuals: You've started Day
One as a manager and you meet your first staff problem. You realize that making
the wrong decision could cause someone real pain, a thought that should scare
you. In this chapter, I describe the techniques that will encourage members of
your staff to respect and trust you as their manager. I also describe many of
the basic techniques of management, such as setting salaries, staff appraisals,
recruitment, and the like.
Problem Staff and Staff Problems: As you gain experience at managing people,
you realize that there are a host of difficult problems to be addressed that you
would really rather not facemisconduct, under-performing staff, harassment,
and so on. This chapter tackles these problems head-on, and so must you!
Managing People in TeamsLeadership Principles:
The awful realization dawns on you that you are not just a "manager."
Your team is looking to you for answers, for direction, for inspiration. The chapter
explains the fundamental qualities of a great leader, of which the top four are
vision, determination, judgment, and integrity.
Managing the Practice of Team Leadership: As you come to see the qualities
that a good leader should possess, you realize you do not possess them all. How
can you lead your team in spite of your weaknesses? This chapter looks at techniques
for leading in the real world, such as leadership style, delegation, banking credibility
with your team, and my most radical suggestionfaking integrity.
Project Management: You realize that you are expected
to serve as the leader of a team within the hierarchy of your organization. In
this chapter, I analyze how team management differs from project management.
Managing Different Types of Staff: You discover that
you must manage both the different personalities and behavior patterns of different
professions. Without intending to perpetuate stereotypes, in this chapter I discuss
lawyers, IT staff, creative types, consultants, salespeople, and support staff.
Managing Team Culture:
You realize that to be successful as a team leader, you need to foster a strong
team culture. Some teams have great team spirit and obviously share the same values
and aspirations, as is shown in the sections of this chapter, which describe how
to build a strong team culture.
Managing a Failing Team: You are about to face the greatest challenge
a manager can face: turning around a failing team. The sections in this chapter
describe how to accomplish this glamorous but distinctly challenging task.
Organizing Your Team (and Yourself): Your team is
growing, the pressures on you are building, and you start to realize how difficult
it is to delegate tasks properly. The chapter treats the topic in a straightforward
and practical fashion.
Your Universe: As your team starts to deliver the goods, others in your organization
begin to see your team as a threat. There is a constant stream of initiatives
from your own organization that seem to be designed to keep your team from doing
its job. Increasingly, you must act as the interface between your team and the
rest of the organizationwithout losing your temper. The chapter focuses
on ways to handle this role.
People Outside Your Organization: It is clear to you that no team operates
as an island. How you must learn to deal with your customers, suppliers, partners,
and people from different cultures is treated in this chapter.
Revisiting Common Management Themes: You've mastered
a lot of what it takes to be a good front-line manager but there are some remaining
topics that every new manager will encounter. To address these issues, I include
a chapter that summarizes common management themes.
Managing in the Real World: In this chapter, I present
some practical examples, which describe various problem scenarios, and I give
my ideas on how to handle each.
Drawing Conclusions: The brief final chapter contains some remarks about
why I think being a manager is the best job in the world.
I assume that you, the reader, are a busy person. I want
you to read this book, so I have kept it fairly short and have tried to express
my ideas in a colorful and memorable style. However, there are potential problems
in the style that I have used:
You may take me too literally. In places, I have exaggerated or simplified
points to help them hit home. My aim is to help you think about the issues, not
to produce a recipe that can be followed precisely. Every management job has its
own unique context, and this book must be interpreted sensibly in the context
within which you work.
You may think you understand a point, and then not know what action to take
in a real-life situation because I have made what to do seem more straightforward
than it really is. The theory of management is simple; it's the practice of
management that's hard and that cannot be learned fully from a book. What I have
tried to do in this book is provide a framework for you to use as you think about
your job and as you master the practice of management. To help you move from theory
to practice, I make lots of suggestions for techniques that you might like to
try, but remember, they must be adapted to your context.
The Golden Rule of Management
The single most important principle that new, front-line
managers will do well to keep in mind is what I call the Golden Rule of Management:
You will be
judged by your actions, not by your words, and your actions shall set the example
for your team to follow.
The truth and the implications of this rule will be apparent time and again
in numerous forms, not only throughout this book but throughout your future as
a front-line manager.
This excerpt from Dr.
Peeling's Principles of Management [ISBN:0-932633-54-4] appears by permission of
Dorset House Publishing. Copyright © 2003 by Nic Peeling. All rights reserved. See
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