What makes a good boss? What separates the worst managers from the best? How can you keep your team happy and engaged, even as they and the work continues to grow and change? How can you get the leadership balance right between overlord and buddy?
These are the questions that plague me. It’s no small thing to have a group of smart, caring, and committed people looking to you each weekday (and some weekends too) for guidance and support. People are incredibly complex and bring a lot of experience, both good and bad, to work everyday. Caring about people and being interested in what makes them tick is integral to being a good leader, and you cannot do that job in a vacuum.
I’m in upper-middle management and have struck gold, being lucky enough to have both a mentor and an excellent boss. While I’m eternally grateful to both, sometimes it is great to read a book like this to get some outside perspective and think a little deeper about how to be better.
Birkinshaw’s book is very practical and helpful. It unpacks many real examples of management wins and mistakes, and focusses intensely on employees and their experiences. There is plenty of research underpinning the methods and practices described within, which made the book particularly helpful.
You won’t find wishy-washy empty notions in here. It’s not espousing some bogus new management technique or high falutin bull$shit tool, because being a good boss is nothing new. There is a lot of common sense to be found within these pages… which as it turns out is maybe not all that common.
I originally borrowed this book from the library and found it so useful that I bought both the audiobook AND found a second-hand copy of the hardback. I have found myself returning to parts again and again, and it’s fast becoming my most frequently referenced book on my shelf.
I’ve seem some reviews online for this book that found the advice within dated, and I could not disagree more. Though there are new challenges to modern leadership since the advent of COVID-19, hybrid working, and virtual teams, this book focuses on the fundamentals and, as such, the advice is timeless.
I would recommend this book to any leader, aspiring or current.
5 steadfast one-on-ones out of 5.