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Tag: Management

Book Review: Cultures of Belonging

 

Cultures of Belonging: Building Inclusive Organizations that Last

– Alida Miranda-Wolff –

HarperCollins Leadership

Published 15 February 2022

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Diversity, inclusion, belonging. All such key and important words for leaders and managers and all workers to be across in today’s workplace. And rightfully so. These have so often been ignored or not prioritised in workplaces and it is time, well past time, for change. In Cultures of Belonging, Alida Miranda-Wollf draws upon her own lived-experience in work settings and her experience as a leader within the DEIB sector to explore the key themes around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and provides practical skills and techniques to build a culture around these.

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Book Review: Do What Matters Most

Do What Matters Most: Lead with a Vision, Manage with a Plan, Prioritize Your Time – Rob Shallenberger, Steve Shallenberger – Berrett-Koehler Publishers – Published 18 May 2021

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Synopsis

In researching more than 1,260 managers and executives from more than 108 different organizations, Steve and Rob Shallenberger discovered that 68 percent of them feel like their number one challenge is time management, yet 80 percent don’t have a clear process for how to prioritize their time.

Drawing on their forty years of leadership research, this book offers three powerful habits that the top 10 percent of leaders use to Do What Matters Most. These three high performance habits are developing a written personal vision, identifying and setting Roles and Goals, and consistently doing Pre-week Planning. And Steve and Rob make an audacious promise: these three habits can increase anyone’s productivity by at least 30 to 50 percent. For organizations, this means higher profits, happier employees, and increased innovation. For individuals, it means you’ll find hours in your week that you didn’t know were there–imagine what you could do!

You will learn how acquiring this skillset turned an average employee into her company’s top producer, enabled a senior vice president to reignite his team and achieve record results, transformed a stressed-out manager’s work and home life, helped a CEO who felt like he’d lost his edge regain his fire and passion, and much more. By implementing these simple and easy-to-understand habits, supported by tools like the Personal Productivity Assessment, you will learn how to lead a life by design, not by default. You’ll feel the power that comes with a sense of control, direction, and purpose.

My thoughts

Do What Matters Most has got to be the most helpful leadership, time management and professional improvement book I have read in a long time. Maybe ever. It is full of practical advice that is easy to use and adapt to your professional and personal. Often I finish a professional book and I have a list of all the things I’m going to do to improve my working practice and then I never actually enact anything. After reading Do What Matters Most I am left feeling in control, with a definite plan. I am completely aware of how I will use the tips and skills in this book but even more than that I am also far more aligned with what I need to do in my daily work practice to reach my professional and personal goals. This book has given me the power to enact change. I love it and highly recommend this book.

So many times I have thought that I needed to write down my goals. I had a vague idea in my head of where I was going, but I’d never put it into words. Similarly, there have been many times in my day that I felt I could have achieved more or I haven’t done the important things, instead just getting through a million small emergency fires. Do What Matters Most is all about changing that reactive behaviour into a proactive attitude.

I’d say half of the content in this book is providing evidence that their approach works. For someone who was already on board, I did feel like I could have skipped some of these sections. They are consistently spread throughout the book. For example, you have a chapter on why writing down a vision works before you move into a chapter about actually writing a vision statement. For me, the gold was in the doing chapters. While the evidence is great and the quotes from professionals from all walks of life shows that these practices work, it was more than I needed.

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Book Review: Wait I’m Working With Who

Wait, I’m Working With Who?!? The Essential Guide To Dealing With Difficult Coworkers, Annoying Managers, and Other Toxic Personalities – Peter Economy – Career Press – Published 1 April 2021

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Synopsis

Who hasn’t had to deal with a jerk at work? Whether it’s a toxic team member who loves nothing more than to suck the life and excitement out of her colleagues, the difficult coworker who isn’t happy unless the office is filled with mayhem and drama, or a bad boss who causes his employees to constantly dream of telling him to “Take this job and shove it!”, we’ve all had to deal with people on the job we would rather not.

Wait, I’m Working with Who?!? is the essential guide to identifying and dealing with jerks at work, including bad bosses, troublemaking coworkers, lazy and time-sucking team members, and toxic people of all sorts. This book covers the negative impact that problematic coworkers have on the workplace—lost productivity, high turnover, a company culture of ambivalence or defeat—and catalogs 16 specific species. It then goes on to share detailed steps for dealing with these characters—whether you’re an employee or a manager. The information and strategies in these chapters will be immediately actionable and profoundly helpful.

My thoughts

Everyone has worked in teams and everyone has worked with or for a difficult person at some point in their life (and if not, then you are pretty lucky). Working with others takes a careful balance of skills and considering different personalities. I’ve read many books about working in teams or people management but few of them focus on the challenges and the really tough stuff of conflict management. If you too have noticed that gap or want a guide on how to handle that person you just don’t get or who is constantly negative or bringing you down at work, then this is the book for you.

Wait, I’m Working With Who? Starts with A Field Guide To Jerks At Work. It outlines both the impact of workers that the book labels as jerks and then lists the sixteen most common jerks you’ll encounter. It lists behaviours and traits you might recognise or things to be on the lookout for. I like that though this book is all about helping you work better with others, it doesn’t neglect the reader or their role in the workplace, encouraging you to reflect on your own behaviour and identify when your behaviour might slide into jerk territory.

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Book Review: Build Great Teams

Build Great Teams: How To Harness, Create and Be Part of a Powerful Team – American Library Association and Catherine Hakala-Ausperk – Simple Truths – Published 30 March 2021

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Synopsis

Teamwork matters. But how do you A) enlist a powerhouse team; B) develop successful teamwork skills; and C) turn a troubled team around?

In just one year (or 52-weeks), you can achieve your personal dream team through Catherine Hakala-Ausperk’s proven program. Organized into 52 modules—designed to cover a year of weekly sessions, but easily adaptable for any pace—Build Great Teams covers major management issues such as: success with recruiting, setting teammates up for success, good organizational communication skills, establishing an innovative team, and more!

My thoughts

Build Great Teams appears to be a re-release of the 2012 title Build a Great Team: One Year to Success. While I haven’t read that book, looking at the summary and contents page, the two seem to have very similar content and layout, with just a few updates and changes.

Build Great Teams is a very approachable book. It is set out as a guide you could use over a year to improve your team leading skills. Each week’s content is extremely short (most just a page and a half long, with very large text and a large stock image taking up most of the space). The text is also very readable. No research, stats or other details, this book is like a friend giving you a few tips to try out each week. I had read a whole month’s worth before realising that it was a month’s worth and not just one week.

While this book is something I could certainly see having time in my week to fit in, it didn’t have the depth of content I was looking for. Each week’s content is more a general suggestion of how a team might work best together or an example from another company. The learning is implied.

I think to get the most out of this book, I would need to use each chapter as merely a starting point and do some reflection or find some related activities to go with each chapter’s topic.  The marketing materials do mention the possibility of accompanying workbooks or resources, which I think would make this a far more practical resource.  Continue reading

Book Review: Your Team Loves Mondays…Right?

Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? – Kristin Sherry – Black Rose Writing – Published 20 February 2020

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Synopsis

According to Gallup research, 9 out of 10 people are not naturally wired to manage people. Yet, two-thirds of managers are thrown into supervising people without direction. Kristin Sherry had a similar experience leading a team of 31 people for the first time without preparation.

Packed with practical tools, frameworks and tips to grow your confidence and people management capabilities, this book will help you discover if management is the best fit for your talents, reveal directing and delegating styles, offer strategies and tactics for hiring, onboarding, training, developing others, and retaining and offboarding employees.

Readers will find step-by-step support to create development plans, give feedback, motivate others and facilitate feedback sessions in this toolbox of actionable guidance.

Hard learned lessons combined with experience coaching managers to improve their skills are delivered in this easy-to-follow guide to earn your team’s respect, get better results and help your team love Mondays.

My thoughts

The title of this book is what caught my eye. I thought it was the perfect way of capturing when a team can have some difficulties working together, when personalities get in the way of productivity or working together. Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? is a practical guide to management, and encompasses a range of topics from key management traits to the entire process through onboarding to offbording.

This book is suitable for managers or for would-be managers. It’s also helpful to those of us who are not managers but must work in a team and under managers. There are practical tips and plenty of examples. Kristin A. Sherry writes from her vast practical experience.

The book starts with breaking down the most effective characteristics of managers and moves into an assessment for the reader’s management style and fit for managerial work. The book then moves into the many possible stages of management, from hiring workers, induction training, working with their teams and training them up to the way in which to best go about discharging employees.

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