The Best Management Book I’ve Read

First, Break All the Rules is without a doubt the best management book I’ve ever read. All I can say is read it and do likewise.

Well, actually, I can say more. Why is it good? The way it was put together. It’s not just some management consultants giving you their dog and pony show. Two Gallup Organization leaders, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, took the results of surveys and interviews with eighty thousand managers in over four hundred companies, summarizing what the best actually do best and how they do it.

Here’s a sampling of the management myths they bust.

Conventional Wisdom: The best way to keep top talent is with great pay and benefits.
Great Manager Wisdom: People leave managers, not companies.

Think about it. What usually motivates people to leave your organization? Sometimes they are disgruntled about pay. But isn’t it more typical that they’ve had a run in with their boss or other coworkers? This doesn’t mean supervisors need to kowtow to every employee whim. It means they need to be better managers. First, Break All the Rules is a great place to learn some of how to do that.

Conventional Wisdom: Talents are rare and special.
Great Manager Wisdom: Everyone has a talent. The trick is to find out what it is and in what situations or roles it can best be used.

Buckingham and Coffman give a wonderful example of housekeepers at world-class hotels. They interviewed the best to find out what made them so great. Answer: they put themselves in the shoes of a hotel guest entering the room for the first time. What would they want the room to be like?

After one housekeeper finishes a room, she lies down on the bed–not because she is lazy but because that is the first thing a guest would do. And from that position she gets a good look at the ceiling, the fan and the light fixtures. Are they clean? Are there cobwebs? How would the hotel guest feel looking at that?

Some people will just never think like this. Those who do have a talent. As the authors say, the key is to discover the talent each person has and put them in–or, if possible, create–roles where they can use that talent regularly.

Conventional Wisdom: A manager’s main role is to control or to instruct.
Great Manager Wisdom: A manager’s main role is that of a catalyst.

The best managers said, “My employees don’t work for me. I work for them.” The employee is the star; the manager is the agent (who expects a great deal from his/her stars). The manager creates an environment where the employee can succeed, and succeed spectacularly.

Inside the book you’ll find many more gems. Get it. Read it.

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.