Becoming A Better BossWhy Good Management is So Difficult
An employee's-eye view of what makes a great boss—and how you can become one Whereas most books on managing people approach the subject from the perspective of a manager of an idealised organisation, Becoming a Better Boss takes a real-world approach, looking at the topic from the perspective of an employee in a real-world organisation—dysfunctions, warts, and all. Focusing on the choices individual employees make every day in getting work done, this book reinvents the practice of management one employee at a time. Author Julian Birkinshaw stresses the importance of taking management seriously, reveals where management practice often goes wrong, and dives deeply into the worldview of employees. He then explores the common personal biases and frailties of managers and discusses the vital importance of experimentation to overcome the limitations and idiosyncrasies of a particular organisation. Throughout, he supports his assertions with case studies from a wide and varying range of management experiments and situations at real companies. Written by a leading authority on strategy, management, and innovation who is also the author of eleven books, including Reinventing Management Introduces a new approach to management focused on real employees and actual situations Includes case studies from real organisations Between the stress of deadlines and the demands of today's business environment, it's easy for managers to lose sight of the importance of people management. Becoming a Better Boss not only shows managers how to lead effectively, but why doing so is vitally important to every organisation's success.
Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii Introduction xv 1 Why Management Matters 1 2 So What Is Good Management Really? 17 3 Getting Inside the Minds of Your Employees: What Makes Them Tick? 35 4 Seeing the World Through the Eyes of Your Employees 57 5 Doing What We Know We Should: Managing As an Unnatural Act 81 6 Experimentation: Functioning in a Broken System 107 7 The Future of Management? 129 Endnotes 143 Index 149
"Birkinshaw writes persuasively and with a disarming lack of pretension, sprinkling practical advice throughout. But the best aspect of this truly excellent book ... is that the author recognises most management studies ignore the reality of workplaces." (People Management, September 2013) "This thoughtful, nuanced book advises managers to see the world through the eyes of the employee.... The author has some powerful supporting witnesses." (Financial Times, September 2013) ‘Becoming a Better Boss is a very engaging and informative’ (IEDP, September 2013) “It’s a good read and discusses many of the familiar issues that crop up when trying to get human beings at work to do what you want.” (B2B Marketing, October 2013)
Julian Birkinshaw is Professor and Chair of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He has PhD and MBA degrees in Business from the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, and a BSc (Hons) from the University of Durham. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Stockholm School of Economics, 2009. Professor Birkinshaw’s main area of expertise is in the strategy and management of large multinational corporations, and on such specific issues as corporate entrepreneurship, innovation, subsidiary–headquarters relationship, knowledge management, network organizations, and global customer management. He is the author of eleven other books, including Reinventing Management: Smarter Choices for Getting Work Done (Revised and Updated Edition 2012), Giant Steps in Management (2007), Inventuring: Why Big Companies Must Think Small (2003), Leadership the Sven-Goran Eriksson Way (2002) and Entrepreneurship in the Global Firm (2001), and over seventy articles in such journals as Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Strategy Management Journal and Academy of Management Journal. He is active as a consultant and executive educator to many large companies, including Rio Tinto, SAP, GSK, ABB, Ericsson, Kone, Petrofac, WPP, Bombardier, Sara Lee, HSBC, Akzo Nobel, Roche, Thyssen Krupp, UBS, PWC, Coloplast, BBC, Unilever and Novo Nordisk. In 1998 the leading British Management magazine Management Today profiled Professor Birkinshaw as one of six of the “Next Generation of Management Gurus”. He is regularly quoted in international media outlets, including CNN, BBC, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and The Times. He speaks regularly at business conferences in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. Professor Birkinshaw is co-founder with best-selling author Gary Hamel of the Management Innovation Lab (MLab), a unique partnership between academia and business that is seeking to accelerate the evolution of management.
There are hundreds of books on management. This is not just another book about what makes an effective manager. Becoming a Better Boss highlights why well-known advice on good management is so rarely heeded. By focusing on management through the eyes of an employee, Julian Birkinshaw gives us insightful and helpful advice on what we might do differently – both as individual managers of others, and as architects of the organizations in which we work. To achieve this, the author has spent time working “in the trenches” to remind himself what life as an employee feels like, as well as interviewed hundreds of employees and managers and undertaken surveys which have received responses in the thousands. The resulting book is a radical new look at what makes good management which is applicable to both manager and employee. It takes managers out of their comfort zone and shows how you can do things differently. It shows how the employee can help themselves be managed more effectively and explores the limitations and pathologies of the organizations we work for.
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