Book review: Becoming a better boss
Julian Birkenshaw. Wiley. €22.99.
Julian Birkinshaw is professor and chair of strategy and entrepreneurship at the Lon- don Business School. In this book, he aims to highlight why popular advice on management is so rarely heeded by focusing on management through the eyes of an employee.
The author spent time working “in the trenches” to remind himself what life as an employee felt like, as well as interviewing hundreds of employees and managers and undertaking surveys with thousands of workers.
He focuses on the motivations and fears of those on the front lines and asks them what they are looking for in their managers. He examines cases where managers have completely misunderstood the needs of their employees as well as where they have done an exemplary job.
For the most part, he says, being a good manager is an unnatural act, something that we can learn to do but only with a lot of deliberate effort. By understanding the primary areas of tension between our subconscious instinct and our rational mind, we can become more effective at making the right choices when it matters.
He also explores the limitations and pathologies of the organisations we work for.