Medium 9781609949235

Simply Managing

Views: 1568
Ratings: (0)

The Essence of Managing

Henry Mintzberg appreciates that managers are busy people. So he has taken his classic book Managing, done some updating, and distilled its essence into a lean 176 pages of text.

The essence of the book remains the same: what Mintzberg learned from observing twenty-nine managers in settings ranging from a refugee camp to a symphony orchestra. Simply Managing considers the intense dynamics of this job as well as its inescapable conundrums, for example:

• How is anyone supposed to think, let alone think ahead, in this frenetic job?
• Are leaders really more important than managers?
• Where has all the judgment gone?
• Is email destroying management practice?
• How can managers connect when their job disconnects them from what they are managing?

If you read only one book about managing, this should be it!

List price: $18.95

Your Price: $14.21

You Save: 25%

Remix
Remove
 

9 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

Welcome to Simply Managing

ePub

This book is written for practicing managers, about their practice of management, and for the many other people influenced by and interested in that practice. It may be especially helpful for new managers befuddled by this strange new world of managing. Simply Managing is a substantially condensed and somewhat revised version of my book Managing (2009), to focus on its essence for busy readers.

The boldface sentences summarize the key points in this book and so serve as a running commentary throughout. (There are no chapter summaries; I believe that these sentences do that job more effectively.) Use them if you are the harried manager described in Chapter 2, and probe around them if you wish to be the reflective manager prescribed in Chapter 5. To help, here is an overview of the six chapters:

Chapter 1 opens things up by questioning a number of common myths about managing—for example, that leadership is more important than management. This chapter is short but necessary for what follows, so please read it!

 

1 Managing Beyond the Myths

ePub

What management is and isn’t

A half century ago Peter Drucker (1954) put management on the map. Leadership has since pushed it off the map. We are now inundated with great stories about the grand successes and even grander failures of great leaders, but we have yet to come to grips with the realities of being a manager.

This is a book about managing, simply managing—even if the job is not simple. It considers the characteristics, contents, and varieties of the job, as well as the conundrums faced by managers, and how they become effective. My objective is straightforward. Managing is important for anyone affected by its practice, which means not just managers, but everyone. We all need to understand it better, in order that it be practiced better. Some of the questions addressed in the book include these:

Are managers too busy managing?

Is leadership really separate from management?

Is the Internet hindering managers as it helps them?

How are managers to connect when the very nature of their job disconnects them from what they are managing?

 

2 Managing Relentlessly

ePub

The pressures of managerial work

Have a look at the popular images of managing—that conductor on the podium, those executives sitting at desks in New Yorker cartoons—and you get one impression of the job: well ordered, carefully controlled. Watch some managers at work and you will likely find something quite different: a hectic pace, lots of interruptions, more responding than initiating.

This chapter describes these and other dynamic characteristics of managing: how managers work, with whom, at what pace, and so on. Much of this evidence comes from the earlier studies, but more recent research suggests it is fully up-to-date (e.g., Hales 2001 and Tengblad 2006).

I first described these dynamics in my 1973 book. None of them could have come as a shock to anyone who ever spent a day in a managerial office, doing the job or observing it. Yet they struck a chord with many people—especially managers—perhaps because they challenged some of our most cherished myths about this job. Time and again, when I presented these conclusions to groups of managers, the common response was “You make me feel so good! While I thought that all those other managers were planning, organizing, coordinating, and controlling, I was constantly being interrupted, jumping from one issue to another, and trying to keep the lid on the chaos.”

 

3 Managing Information, People, Action

ePub

A model of managing

We begin this discussion of what managers actually do with the gurus of management, most of whom have seen this job in its component parts, not as an integrated whole. This chapter proposes a model of managing that positions the parts within the whole, by depicting managing as taking place on three planes: through information, with people, and for action. A final section describes the “well-rounded” job of managing.

If you wish to become one of those “gurus” of management, focus on one aspect of the job to the exclusion of all the others. Henri Fayol saw managing as controlling, while Tom Peters has seen it as doing? (“‘Don’t think, do’ is the phrase I favor’” [1990]). On Wall Street, of course, managers “do deals.” Michael Porter has instead equated managing with thinking, specifically analyzing (“I favor a set of analytical techniques for developing strategy,” he wrote in The Economist [1987:2]). Others, such as Warren Bennis, have built their reputations among managers by describing their work as leading, while Herbert Simon built his among academics by describing it as decision making. (The Harvard Business Review concurred, for years pronouncing on its cover, “The magazine of decision makers.”)

 

4 Managing Every Which Way

ePub

The untold varieties of managing

No one size fits all in managing; there is no “one best way” to manage. Indeed, to repeat, people who believe themselves prepared to manage everything in general are often able to manage nothing in particular. Managing is very much rooted in context. Spend a few hours with a variety of managers, and you will likely be struck by how varied this job can be: a bank chairman visiting branches; a Red Cross delegate looking for tensions in a refugee camp; an orchestra conductor in rehearsal and then performance; the head of an environmental NGO engaging in formal planning while fighting off a political challenge. Managing is almost as varied as life itself, because it is about so much that happens in life itself.

The last two chapters looked at the common characteristics and content of managing. This one considers its sheer variety. How to find order in the variety we see?

The main sources of variety discussed here are the external context (national culture, sector, industry); the form of the organization (entrepreneurial, professional, etc.) as well as its age and size; the job’s level in the hierarchy and the work supervised; temporary pressures of the job; and the person in the job (background, tenure, personal style).

 

5 Managing on Tightropes

ePub

The inescapable conundrums of managing

Managing is rife with conundrums. Every way a manager turns, there seems to be some paradox or enigma lurking. Think of these as tightropes on which every manager must walk. “It is precisely the function of the executive … to reconcile conflicting forces, instincts, interests, conditions, positions and ideals” (Barnard 1938:21). Notice the use of the word reconcile, not resolve. This chapter discusses various conundrums at the heart of managing, with some suggestions for reconciliation.

This is perhaps the most basic of all the conundrums of managing, the plague of every manager. How to get in deep when there is so much pressure to get it done? As I wrote in my earlier study and noted in Chapter 2, the prime occupational hazard of the manager is superficiality. Because the job is open-ended, the manager is inclined to take on a heavy load of work. As a consequence, as noted, this job does not develop reflective planners so much as it breeds adaptive information manipulators.

 

6 Managing Effectively

ePub

Getting to the essence of managing

Trying to figure out what makes a manager effective, even whether a manager has been effective, is difficult. Believing in easy answers only makes it harder. Managers, and those who work with them, have to face the complexities. Helping to do so is the purpose of this chapter.

We begin with the supposedly effective but in fact inevitably flawed manager. This leads us into a brief discussion of unhappily managed organizational families, which we compare with happily managed ones. We turn then to the questions of selecting, assessing, and developing effective managers, asking along the way, “Where has all the judgment gone?” Woven throughout are many of the main points developed in this book, to serve as a kind of summary. This chapter, and book, close with a comment on “managing naturally.”

Lists of the qualities of effective managers abound. These are usually short—who would take dozens of items seriously? For example, in a brochure (circa 2005) to promote its EMBA program, entitled “What Makes a Leader?” the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto answered, “The courage to challenge the status quo. To flourish in a demanding environment. To collaborate for the greater good. To set clear direction in a rapidly changing world. To be fearlessly decisive.”

 

Dedication

ePub

I dedicate this edition of Simply Managing to Berrett-Koehler, an engaging organization.

Steve Piersanti was the president of a highly successful division of a large publisher when, during a round of cost cutting, he was ordered to reduce his staff by 10 percent. He refused, arguing that his unit had been doing well and lacked the turnover that made such cutting easier for other units. When a number of authors and suppliers found out that he had been fired, they encouraged him to start his own company and offered to support it. Thus was Berrett-Koehler born.

And thus has it functioned ever since: this is a different kind of publisher. The staff hardly turns over: many of the same competent and dedicated people have been there for years. They believe in books beyond sales, causes beyond shareholder value, and authors’ ideas beyond their reputations. “Creating a world that works for all” is not just the company’s stated mission; it is reflected in the books it produces and how it functions internally. The consequence of this is perhaps best reflected in the fact that, when the company needed some funding and approached its authors, sixty of them bought shares in the enterprise.

 

References

ePub

A fuller bibliography of the research and other writing on this subject can be found in Managing (Mintzberg, 2009).

Alinsky, S. D. (1971). Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. New York: Random House.

Andrews, F. (1976). Management: How a Boss Works in Calculated Chaos. New York Times, October 29.

Augier, M. (2004). James March on Education, Leadership, and Don Quixote: Introduction and Interview. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 3(2), 169–177.

Barnard, C. I. (1938). The Functions of the Executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bennis, W. G. (1989). On Becoming a Leader. Reading, MA: Perseus Books.

Boyatzis, R. E. (1995). Cornerstones of Change: Building the Path for Self-Directed Learning. In R. E. Boyatzis, S. S. Cowen, & D. A. Kolb (Eds.), Innovation in Professional Education: Steps on a Journey from Teaching to Learning (pp. 50–91). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Brook, P. (1968). The Empty Space. New York: Atheneum.

Brunsson, K. (2007). The Notion of General Management. Malmö: Liber, Copenhagen Business School Press, and Universitetsforlaget.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023279
Isbn
9781609949259
File size
2.76 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata