Mind Tools for Managers: 100 ways to be a better boss Mind Tools for Managers: 100 ways to be a better boss

Mind Tools for Managers: 100 ways to be a better boss
29 Jun 2018

Mind Tools for Managers book cover

Authors: James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw

 

In contrast to most other management books, the authors of this one sought the advice of “more than 15,000 managers across the world” (page 225) for their views on what topics they would most like covered. The result is a compendium of 100 tools, neatly grouped into 18 chapters.

As such, the work provides a wonderful breadth of established management practices and theories within 200 or so pages, which is no mean feat. Moreover, the style of writing is succinct, and clear signposting is offered to further online information for most topics.

But attempting to cover such a wide spectrum inevitably leads to some compromises, which could also be seen as shortcomings. The first is that there are few examples to help illustrate the issues raised.

Secondly, the topics are largely restricted to established management approaches – there is little or nothing either groundbreaking or contemporary in there. Thirdly, each topic is standalone – the real-life complexities of, for example, structure and culture are neatly sidelined, even though they may have a profound effect on the implementation of any suggested approach.

As a result, the book is not particularly challenging imagination-wise. It also fails to present newer management ideas to readers, despite many of the listed references being fairly recent. Indeed, the book almost seems to be harking back to a management world that existed 20 or 30 years ago.

The real world

Of the opportunities and challenges that managers face due to technology, data, social media and the like, very little mention is made. Email is referred to, but that is about it – although it is possibly assumed that readers will look for more up-to-date information online via the recommended links.

While the appendix details how the list of 100 topics was put together and these topics are presented in the book under headings, it would have been interesting to see them ranked in order of importance.

There is also scope for a further survey of, for example, suppliers, staff and customers in order to understand how they would rate the significance of a range of management issues, and how their own ranking might compare with those of the 15,000 managers questioned. It might have revealed more pressing concerns and would certainly have provided an alternative viewpoint.

These points aside, for any existing manager or management student wishing to have a handy go-to resource on their bookshelf that covers a wide variety of management issues, this is a well-structured and useful publication. For inexperienced managers, it is actually worthy of being read from cover to cover - as long as people bear in mind that the real world is less predictable and controllable than this work would appear to suggest.

 Mark Northway 

Mark Northway is director and courses co-ordinator at Deltic Training, which provides strategic administration and business management courses and accredited qualifications. He is a former director and trustee of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), a chief IAM examiner and a Princes Trust Award winner for his role in business mentoring in the UK.

Mind Tools for Managers book cover

Authors: James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw

 

In contrast to most other management books, the authors of this one sought the advice of “more than 15,000 managers across the world” (page 225) for their views on what topics they would most like covered. The result is a compendium of 100 tools, neatly grouped into 18 chapters.

As such, the work provides a wonderful breadth of established management practices and theories within 200 or so pages, which is no mean feat. Moreover, the style of writing is succinct, and clear signposting is offered to further online information for most topics.

But attempting to cover such a wide spectrum inevitably leads to some compromises, which could also be seen as shortcomings. The first is that there are few examples to help illustrate the issues raised.

Secondly, the topics are largely restricted to established management approaches – there is little or nothing either groundbreaking or contemporary in there. Thirdly, each topic is standalone – the real-life complexities of, for example, structure and culture are neatly sidelined, even though they may have a profound effect on the implementation of any suggested approach.

As a result, the book is not particularly challenging imagination-wise. It also fails to present newer management ideas to readers, despite many of the listed references being fairly recent. Indeed, the book almost seems to be harking back to a management world that existed 20 or 30 years ago.

The real world

Of the opportunities and challenges that managers face due to technology, data, social media and the like, very little mention is made. Email is referred to, but that is about it – although it is possibly assumed that readers will look for more up-to-date information online via the recommended links.

While the appendix details how the list of 100 topics was put together and these topics are presented in the book under headings, it would have been interesting to see them ranked in order of importance.

There is also scope for a further survey of, for example, suppliers, staff and customers in order to understand how they would rate the significance of a range of management issues, and how their own ranking might compare with those of the 15,000 managers questioned. It might have revealed more pressing concerns and would certainly have provided an alternative viewpoint.

These points aside, for any existing manager or management student wishing to have a handy go-to resource on their bookshelf that covers a wide variety of management issues, this is a well-structured and useful publication. For inexperienced managers, it is actually worthy of being read from cover to cover - as long as people bear in mind that the real world is less predictable and controllable than this work would appear to suggest.

 Mark Northway 

Mark Northway is director and courses co-ordinator at Deltic Training, which provides strategic administration and business management courses and accredited qualifications. He is a former director and trustee of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), a chief IAM examiner and a Princes Trust Award winner for his role in business mentoring in the UK.