Book Review: It’s the Manager

“It’s the Manager,” released in 2019 by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter, is one of the books used in the Nollau Leadership Institute. This review was written by Leslie Yerkes.

One of the most important contributions of a manager is not what he/she accomplishes from their ‘to do’ list each day but how they support the capability of those who look to them for leadership to cross the finish line in advancing the organization’s mission.

Most individuals are promoted into managerial positions because of how well they did their own jobs. This promotion expands their responsibility to include supporting others to do their jobs effectively. These are two different sets of competencies. An individual contributor does not always make a good manager without being developed.

This is a common issue for all organizations. And yet, it is a critical issue as research tell us that the quality of an organization’s management directly influences the morale, productivity, satisfaction and retention of good employees.

It makes no difference whether you describe it as supervision, management, or leadership. If the individual is responsible for the results of others, then focus your efforts on developing their skillfulness and interpersonal abilities in order to strengthen your organization’s health, performance and culture.

So how do you develop yourself and others? There are many ways, but one of my favorite and most cost effective methods is to read a book together and discuss the contents and their application to your daily work. Peer learning dialogue models are very powerful and easy to implement.

Learning to learn and being a learner is the key to coaching and developing other people’s capability. When you read (or listen) to the content of a book and then participate in a facilitated discussion — learning will occur. When you put a new idea, concept or habit into action — change will occur. Be intentional about the learning and change that you want to initiate in your organization.

A book that is a good start for the development of managerial understanding is It’s The Manager by Clifton and Harter. The book is based on the Gallup organization’s largest global study of the future of work. It has 52 short (5 pages or less) chapters perfect for incremental learning and on-going discussions. The content is research-based, relevant and actionable. Each book includes a link to take the “Strengths Finders” Style Assessment which can be a fun way to promote self-awareness and team relationships.

Consider a new way to learn together and focus your conversations on both what the organization needs to be doing and how individuals approach their working relationships in service of the mission by reading and discussing It’s The Manager together.

Leslie Yerkes is the president of The Catalyst Consulting Group, Inc., whose mission is to support the development of healthy and sustainable working environments and working relationships.  Leslie’s passion is leadership and managerial development. She is based in Cleveland and has traveled the United States and Europe consulting, writing, speaking, teaching, facilitating and coaching individuals, groups and organizations to be their best.

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