By @SimonCocking, review of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to be a Better Boss, by James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw. Available from Amazon here

The manager’s must-have guide to excelling in all aspects of the job

Mind Tools for Managers helps new and experienced leaders develop the skills they need to be more effective in everything they do. It brings together the 100 most important leadership skills—as voted for by 15,000 managers and professionals worldwide—into a single volume, providing an easy-access solutions manual for people wanting to be the best manager they can be. Each chapter details a related group of skills, providing links to additional resources as needed, plus the tools you need to put ideas into practice.

Success in a leadership position comes from results, and results come from the effective coordination of often competing needs: your organization, your client, your team, and your projects. These all demand time, attention, and energy, and keeping everything running smoothly while making the important decisions is a lot to handle. 

It’s probably symptomatic of our times that to be a good manager it is seen to be necessary that you need 100 tools to be able to successfully manage your staff. Of course you probably wouldn’t want to use all 100 of them at any one time, or even the same week or month. The book does cover a good range of ideas, insights and possibly inspirational tips, depending on how your own working week is going. We enjoyed the variety of elements that the authors tackled, and their own working backgrounds ensured that their tips from drawn from valid experiences and ideas they had tried out themselves.

It is illustrative of the challenges of being a good modern day boss, that you have to be able to have a degree of competency and such a wide range of skills. This is probably an accurate assessment of what it takes to be a good manager. While tech can automate much of the drudge aspects of work, the ability to manage humans remains or is perhaps becoming ever more important.

At times you found yourself yearning for a little more detail and examples of how some of these ideas might be applied, but with 100 ideas to cover maybe they felt they had to keep it short – though as the whole book weighs in at under 230 pages you could argue that it might not hurt for a second edition to flesh out some of the tools they describe, with actual case studies or examples or successful implementations. Overall the book is well written, presented, and makes for a good, readable summary of a range of good skills to ensure that you stay on top of your people skills and help everyone to get the most out of their working environment.

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