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Becoming A Better Boss: Why Good Management is So Difficult

Becoming A Better Boss: Why Good Management is So Difficult

Julian Birkinshaw

ISBN: 978-1-118-64546-8 October 2013 Jossey-Bass 176 Pages


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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)