Outstanding advice on people management

If you are looking for a quick introduction to the ideas of a number of thought-leaders on how to manage people, HBR’s 10 Must-Reads on Managing People is a good resource. The ideas discussed in this book include:

Daniel Goleman: There are six leadership styles – coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting and coaching. The most effective leaders are able to change between these styles when appropriate.

Frederick Herzberg: Punishments and rewards are ineffective tools for motivating people. Instead, try enriching their jobs by removing controls, giving employees more information, and giving access to greater challenges.

Manzoni and Barsoux: Employees who are viewed as weak performers often live down to expectations because the supervisor’s attempts at performance management result in worse rather than better performance.

Carol Walker: New managers often perform poorly because they have not learnt the skills of delegating, getting support from above, projecting confidence, focusing on the big picture, and giving constructive feedback.

Marcus Buckingham: Great managers do not try to change their employees. Instead, they tweak roles to capitalize on individual strengths, create personalised incentives, and tailor coaching to unique learning styles.

Kim and Mauborgne: Harmony in the workplace required fair process, including inviting input from employees affected by a decision, explaining the thinking behind decisions, and providing clear expectations.

Chris Argyris: An organization’s smartest and most successful people are often poor learners because they have not had the opportunity for introspection that comes with failure.

Banaji, Bazerman and Chugh: Everyone has unconscious biases which affect decisions. To counteract these biases, gather better data, get rid of stereotypical cues, and broaden your mind-set.

Katzenbach and Smith: A good team has a meaningful common purpose, specific performance goals, a mix of complementary skills, a strong commitment to how the work gets done, and mutual accountability.

Gabarro and Kotter: To have a good relationship with your boss, focus on compatible work styles, mutual expectations, information flow, dependability and honesty, and good use of time and resources.

In my opinion, every article in the book contains ideas which will be useful in almost any workplace. In most workplaces there is enormous scope for improving the quality of people management. Some of the articles were first published more than 20 years ago, but the principles which they espouse are yet to find their way into most workplaces. I highly recommend this book to any manager.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *