Mind Tools for Managers - James Manktelow, Julian Birkinshaw

Mind Tools for Managers - James Manktelow, Julian Birkinshaw

Discover in this summary the essential skills of effective managers and how to manage with practical wisdom and expert guidance.

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Being the boss is difficult. You know this and you may have been looking for ways to improve your skills. Your wait is over! In the book "Mind Tools for Managers", James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw give a set of lessons that will leverage your results with a more effective leadership.

The effective boss is able to inspire people with an attractive set of social skills and stay on top of practical details to enable the team to achieve its goals. Encouragemen t and motivation is essential to achieve it!

Most managers are not properly trained for the job, but now every manager can be the kind of boss who makes the difference.

Got interested to overcome your obstacles and become a reference in leading teams? Stay with us in this summary and discover how!

About the book "Mind Tools for Managers"

Launched in 2018, "Mind Tools for Managers" was written by James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw and is a tool belt for bosses - those pragmatic people who need to get the best job out of their teams in imperfect circumstances.

Based on research with 15242 business leaders worldwide, each chapter provides succinct and step-by-step explanations of each skill, 100 in total, so you can become a better boss.

About the authors James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw

James Manktelow wrote, edited and contributed to more than seven books and e-books on management and leadership, including "Manage Your Time" and "Manage Stress". He is also founder and CEO of MindTools. com and a writer.

Julian Birkinshaw is the author of fourteen books, including "Fast / Forward", "Becoming a Better Boss" and "Reinventing Management".

In addition, he is professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, dean of management programs and academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the London Business School.

To whom is this book indicated?

If you want to be a better manager, or even become one, here is an easy-to-access solution manual that will show you the way of the stones, so that you can become an excellent manager.

To be a good leader, you need good results. To achieve it, you must have an effective coordination, managing time, your team, clients, among other crucial skills that you will learn here!

Main ideas of the book "Mind Tools for Managers"

  • Build your trustworthy individual skill set, building on your strengths and maintaining a productive mindset while managing your overall image of time management, personal health and career goals;
  • Understand the science behind human motivation and behavior, in order to hire, develop and sustain high performance teams;
  • Have a panoramic view of your company's place in the sector, mark yourself within your organization and discover opportunities to promote change.

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[Book Summary] Mind Tools For Managers - James Manktelow, Julian Birkinshaw

Overview: Get to know yourself

Have you ever worked on a role that was not suited to your personality? Have you ever managed people who worked hard, but didn't have the right mindset for the job they were doing?

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw says that this can be an unfortunate and underperforming situation for everyone involved, which is why it is so important to understand your own personality and shape the way you manage properly.

One way to avoid these situations is to be aware of and use the big five personality model, which addresses what researchers call the five personality dimensions:

  1. Openness: your desire for new knowledge and experiences, your appreciation of art and beauty and your creativity;
  2. Awareness: how much care you take with things and how hard you work. This brings together factors such as diligence, self-discipline, competence, obedience, order and sense of duty;
  3. Extroversion: how sociable you are. Are you warm, enthusiastic, sociable, and being in the crowd fills you with energy? Or do you find yourself exhausted by social contact with new people?
  4. Pleasantness: your friendliness and kindness towards others. This includes factors such as compassion, altruism, trust, politeness, modesty and openness;
  5. Neuroticism: how volatile you are and how far you are in control of your emotions. It also takes into account factors such as hostility, impulsivity, anxiety, self-awareness and depression.

The Big 5 model is useful because it is actionable and because there are many online tests available for it. So, how should you use the results?

If you think your conscience is low, you need to act firmly. If you don't change that, you won't get far in your career, because people won't be able to trust you to do things.

Likewise, low levels of pleasantness and high levels of neuroticism will make you uncomfortable to work, especially in high stress workplaces. There are strategies that you can learn to manage this.

After using the test, think about what you have learned from it and make appropriate plans to address these learning points.

Overview: Appreciative inquiry approach to problem solving

There are several useful techniques for identifying things that are going wrong in an organization, and they are very useful. However, there is also a completely different approach - appreciative research - that focuses on what is going well.

For example, imagine that you are running a wellness center and are struggling to keep members. In addition to focus on solving the problems that are causing people to leave, you can ask longtime members what they love about the club.

You can work with your team to actively market these things to attract new members who will appreciate the things you are already doing well.

Appreciative inquiry is often conducted using a 4-D approach - discover, dream, design, and deliver. In this summary of the book "Mind Tools for Managers", we are adding a definition stage, producing 5 D's:

  1. Define: If you are working on a problem that needs to be solved, your initial definition is likely to be quite negative. So, put it positively: for example, if you are trying to prevent members from leaving, set the goal as "please long-term members and thereby increase retention";
  2. Discover: Then, see what is really going well. In our example, you can interview longtime members and find out what they like best about the health club. Gather your answers to identify the main factors important to them - let's say here they love a specific type of exercise class you do;
  3. Dream: Discover the main factors that you identified in the discovery phase and brainstorm "what can be" - how can you take these positive points and develop them to take them to the best level. You can teach this class more often, improve the studio environment;
  4. Design: In this phase, you choose which of these ideas to work on and how to work them;
  5. Deliver: Implement your plan and, doing so, be sure to communicate these new positive aspects to the people you serve in an inspiring and exciting way;

Overview: Build team members' self-confidence

You can help your team members develop self-confidence in the same way that you do with yourself.

In other words, you can help them understand and capitalize on their strengths, set clear goals for the future (including those that will create those strengths), reflect on their past successes, and develop the skills and connections needed to be recognized as the right person for the job.

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw state other things you can do as well:

  • Create "domain experiences" for them. Set small goals that allow them to demonstrate to you and themselves that they have mastered a skill. Then, set progressively harder challenges to help them develop their skills even further;
  • Give them the training and information they need to succeed. Teach them the correct way to perform tasks and make sure they have information and equipment to perform them successfully;
  • Associate them with experienced models. People learn a lot by watching how qualified and successful people deal with problems and issues. Associate new, inexperienced or under confident people with good examples so that they can learn from them and get the training and guidance they need to become more confident;
  • Encourage them. Tell them when they do a good job and express faith in your skills when you are fighting;
  • Provide an environment which they can succeed. Allow them to develop new skills without distractions. Manage the amount of pressure they face, so that they have enough to motivation to do a good job.

Just as we need to avoid superficial overconfidence in ourselves, we need to keep our people grounded and help them develop adequate levels of self-confidence.

Do this by giving a lot of feedback and using the approaches described. Also make them aware of the "Dunning-Kruger" effect (the tendency to overestimate our own abilities when our competence is low and to overestimate the abilities of other people when our competence is high).

Overview: Understand your organization's core competencies

So, what are your organization's core competencies? You can probably create a long list of things that your company does well. Prahalad and Hamel, two experts on the subject of organizational skills, offer three tests that you can use to separate interesting resources from genuine core competencies:

  1. Scope of application: The core competence needs to be something that can be applied to many markets or generate a range of potentially successful products. This breadth allows sustaining growth beyond the initial success of the market;
  2. Relevance: Competence must be directly or indirectly valuable to customers. Competencies often lose their meaning over time. For example, many traditional retailers had skills in store location and design, but they became increasingly irrelevant as online retail took off;
  3. Imitation difficulty: Competence needs to be something difficult to be imitated by other organizations. Otherwise, your advantage will quickly wear out.

Often, you will find that your most important competencies are actually bundles of related things, rather than something narrow and specific.

So, how can you use the idea of essential skills to improve your business and advance your own career?

Start by identifying competencies that will make the biggest positive difference for your organization's future and looking for opportunities to develop them further.

From a personal career point of view, it is worth aligning your work and your self-development with the main competencies of your organization.

There's not much point in becoming an in-house expert in an area where your company doesn't particularly care (and may end up outsourcing) when you can use the same amount of effort to develop skills that help you succeed in a highly visible environment.

What do other authors say about it?

Going deeper into the question of how to motivate teams and develop leadership, the book "Start with Why", written by Simon Sinek, is ideal for those who aim to inspire others and succeed at work. In this journey, the author highlights the importance of knowing your "why", that is, your purpose and your final mission.

In "The Effective Executive", Peter F. Drucker clarifies that executives can be brilliant, imaginative and informed, yet still be inefficient. Effective executives are systematic. They work hard in the right areas and their results define them. They are knowledge professionals who help the company achieve its goals.

The book "Smart Collaboration", by Heidi K. Gardner, emphasizes the importance of cultivating intelligent collaboration with your employees. Thus, there is a team formed by great professionals aligned in order to expand their horizons, innovate, work as a team and win customer loyalty.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

There are many situations where you must take a collaborative approach to negotiation. You are looking for a successful outcome, but you also want to maintain a strong, ongoing relationship with the other person. This is where win-win trading is a great technique to use.

The starting point is to prepare yourself completely. Think about this:

  • Objectives: What do you want from the negotiation? And what do you think the other person wants? (Remember that you may be wrong about this and will need to confirm this in one way or another when negotiating);
  • Relationships: Is there a previous relationship (good or bad) between you and the other person? If so, what should you do about it to ensure that the negotiation is successful? If not, how will you build a working relationship?
  • Power: Who has more power in negotiation? Who controls scarce resources and who loses less if no agreement is reached?
  • BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement): What is the best alternative to a negotiated agreement that you and the other person have? This is your retreat position if you cannot reach an agreement, and if it is particularly unattractive, you will probably need to compromise much more in the negotiation;
  • Business: What does each of you have that the other person wants, but that you feel free to donate to get the deal you want?
  • Possible solutions: Based on all of this, what possible commitments or best results for both sides could be there?

The most important of these steps is where you invent options for mutual gain. Spend a lot of time doing this and you can get results that delight both of you!

Did you like this summary of the book "Mind Tools for Managers"?

Are you ready to apply these skills in your management life? Did you find this content useful for your purpose? Leave your feedback in the comments!

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Book 'Mind Tools of Managers'