Learn to Lead: no one is born a great people manager

John (pseudonym) is a brilliant specialist in a consultancy firm. His client loves him. He produces excellent work and presents them brilliantly to senior stakeholders. Because of that, he progresses quickly within the organization and manages a team of five direct reports. After more than a year, things are not looking great. John is working longer hours than before, while his team is afraid of him. He is very intimidating, asking them tough questions without coaching them on how to answer. Sometimes, John even pitches them against each other. They are so afraid that they do not ask him questions to clarify what he wants and generally stop going to him for consultation. The team members are growing increasingly distant from each other too.

The last straw was when not one but two team members resigned. John was in the hospital when the news broke, nursing from a gastrointestinal problem, which the doctor said was likely due to stress. Having to stay in the hospital for seven days turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced John to step back and look at how he has built and managed his team. Things began to unravel.

This book is meant to help new or aspiring managers to learn about leadership and team management. While the best way to learn to be a good manager is through real-life experiences, I hope this book will offer some guidance, and markers along your journey to make it smoother. The book is purposely light on theory as it is meant to be a practical guide. I include relevant research, studies from reputable sources like Harvard Business Review, books like “7 habits of highly effective people”, “Prepared” by Diane Tavenner, and others. While writing this book, I realize how many mistakes I have made throughout the years, so I truly appreciate how difficult it is to be a good people manager. I am thankful to many previous managers, colleagues, friends who have helped me along the journey. I have learned a lot from each one of them in many ways.

No one is born a good people manager, yet we often expect new managers to be good at it within a relatively short time (between one to two years) and sometimes without proper training or coaching. People management is a specialty, just like being an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher. It often takes years of learning and practice to be good at it. From my experience, being a good people manager will not happen by itself. It takes a burning desire and years of practice to be good at it.

The book has 21 chapters and divides into two main parts. The first part is about being someone worth following. I believe that to be a good people manager, you should try to be the best version of yourself as a human being. I understand that there is no single definition of the best human being, and each culture offers different nuances; however, across cultures, there are fundamental values that we think each of us (humans) should have.

In part two, I discuss different aspects of people management that you may need to know to be successful from “how to earn the trust and confidence of your team,” “let them be themselves at work,” to “how to prepare for an interview,” etc. These recommendations are a result of my actual working experience over the years. I include as many real-life examples as possible; however, to protect the confidentiality, all names are pseudonyms.

For most chapters, I try to answer three simple questions:
– What is the topic/concept?
– Why is it important?
– What are the practical recommendations?

It is available on Amazon in Kindle format. Here is a free chapter if you are keen to take a look. See what other readers comment about the book here on Good Read. If you are new to this blog and want to understand more about my background, go here or connect with me via LinkedIn



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