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TECH TALK: Good Books: What Great Managers Do

April 29th, 2005 · No Comments

Rounding off the trio of recently published good books on management is The One Thing You Need to Know : … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham. This is Buckinghams third book, after First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently and Now, Discover Your Strengths.

The March 2005 issue of Harvard Business Review has an article by Buckingham based on the book. Buckingham writes: Great leaders tap into the needs and fears we all share. Great managers, by contrast, perform their magic by discovering, developing, and celebrating whats different about each person who works for them. This is the central premise of the book.

Brand Autopsy has a few excerpts from the HBR article:

Great managers play chess, not checkers
Average managers play checkers, while great managers play chess. The difference? In checkers, all the pieces are uniform and move in the same way; they are interchangeable. You need to plan and coordinate their movements, certainly, but they all move at the same pace, on parallel paths. In chess, each type of piece moves in a different way, and you cant play if you dont know how each piece moves.

Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

Identifying a persons strengths
To identify a persons strengths, first ask, What was the best day at work youve had in the past three months? Find out what the person was doing and why he enjoyed it so much.

Remember: A strength is not merely something you are good at. In fact, it might be something you arent good at yet. It might be just a predilection, something you find so intrinsically satisfying that you look forward to doing it again and again and getting better at it over time. This question will prompt your employee to start thinking about his interests and abilities from this perspective.

Great Managers find ways to amplify a persons style
Great managers dont try to change a persons style. They never try to push a knight to move in the same way as a bishop.

They know that their employees will differ in how they think, how they build relationships, how altruistic they are, how patient they can be, how much of an expert they need to be, how prepared they need to feel, what drives them, what challenges them, and what their goals are. These differences of trait and talent are like blood types: They cut across the superficial variations of race, sex, and age and capture the essential uniqueness of each individual.

ManyWorlds adds: To become a great manager, Buckingham says, you need to know three things about each of your person: their strengths, so that you can focus on those while helping them overcome their weaknesses; the triggers that activate those strengths recognition being the primary recommendation; and how they learn so you can tailor your management style to fit those who analyze, those who do, and those who watch.

Next Week: Good Books (continued)


TECH TALK Good Books+T

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