I have a seemingly simple question.

I have a direct who, in a previous job has managed Jr. staff. However the direct has had very little in the way of management training or mentoring.

I would like to have staff report to him in the long term. To do that I would like to spend some time establishing some of the management basics. I plan on using Manager-Tools podcasts as one resource.

In addition I would like a recommendation for a book we could read "together" (e.g. one chapter a week and discuss each week). I feel this would help establish at least some the basics of management.

Ideally the book would cover just the basics and not be too thick - given I'd like to get though it with my direct in a month or two.

Any help, insights or book reccos appreciated.


bffranklin's picture
Training Badge


You may want to review the coaching podcasts. Coaching will keep this direct self-directed in his learning, and will allow him to select learning mechanisms that work for him. It also only consumes a few minutes of your week, and effectively delegates the improvement of your direct to your direct.

Coaching also focuses on MT goals and getting to effective behaviors. Reading a book won't make you a better manager. Practicing good management, even when it's damn uncomfortable, will make you a better manager.

IndianaRoger's picture

Dave- I received a book called "Lead Well and Prosper" from the author (Nick McCormick). Book is around 92 pages (15 Chapters). It is a real quick read. It covers a lot of basics at a high level but a lot of management is actually doing what you already know you should do (but don't). It is pretty MT friendly with some small differences (example author says have O3's at least once a month, feedback uses the sandwich method). You could read a chapter, discuss and then have him/her listen to a MT podcast to get more specific advice on topics. Below are the links to the book and to the authors web site.

Some of the Chapters:
Adopt a Serving Attitude
Provide Honest and Timely Feedback
Set Goals, Plan and Execute
Embrace the Uncomfortable
Always follow Up
Plan Your Week

US101's picture
Licensee Badge

I recommend It's Okay To Be The Boss, by Bruce Tulgan. It's not too long, 200 pages.

Mark mentions Bruce as one of the better HR thinkers today. Bruce wrote a great white paper called "The Under-Management Epidemic." This is very inline with MT and hands-on, engaged management.

Bruce also posts short, 2-minute video clips on how to handle different mangement issues.

jhack's picture

Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive.

It's not just for "executives." Classic, timeless insights.


MattJBeckwith's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Totally agree with the Drucker recommendation as well as the M-T 'casts.

One of the first books I read in my career was [i]How to Win Friends and Influence People[/i]. I found that to be a great foundation. 70 years later and work is still about people.

US101's picture
Licensee Badge

The MT development philosophy is you already have all the development tools you need, O3's, feedback, and coaching.

Don't buy any (more) books. Development is not in books - it's in you.

Make it about real work. People develop themselves when they try something different, learn that it is more effective than how they've been doing things, and adapt as their "new" way of doing things. So, choose real work situations that you want them to get better at and coach them on those things.

1. In your next one on one, tell him where you want to improve. Tell him he is responsible and you're delegating the work to him.
2. Recommend he start doing O3's
3. Agree on how many O3's he'll do in the next two weeks. At the end of week two ask to see his O3's notes. Ask him what he learned about his directs families and friends.
4. Each week in your O3 with him follow-up with where he is in implementing O3's. Give him positive and adjusting feedback along the way.
5. After a month or two of this guy doing O3's move onto feedback. Teach him the feedback model. Have him practice the feedback in front of you. Tell him you're going to ask his directs if he gave them feedback.

HMac's picture

In addition I would like a recommendation for a book we could read "together" (e.g. one chapter a week and discuss each week). I feel this would help establish at least some the basics of management.[/quote]

One question Dave:
Do you think YOU need to review the basics of management? If so, that's fine (follow jhack's and DaveTehre's suggestion about Drucker, and get on with it..). But if you don't - and you think you're picking a book for your direct and not so much for you, then I'll bet a beer that you won't make it all the way through the book. Because it will become an [i]assignment[/i] to you, and not a real interest.

Your plan is well-intentioned. But make it a little more self-serving, by picking a book that YOU'RE interested in (and that's applicable to your direct's needs too, of course).


aniinl's picture

Hi Dave,

I find the management pocket books series extremely helpful They are small, handy, straight to the point and give really clear tips. I've taught myself to become a better manager with them and I have later used them as a reference when coaching jr. managers. Some pages already look like power point slides and you can copy them straight from the book :)

On the other hand, as was mentioned before, I find books like "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie and "How to have confidence and power in dealing with people" by Les Giblin invaluable and I keep re-reading them.