Book review by Philip Crisp FCMI, CMI, FIC - The leader's guide to managing people: how to use soft skills to get hard results, Mike Brent & Fiona Dent
FT Publishing International ISBM 978-0273779452
Mike Brent and Fiona Dent are experienced developers of managers and this shows clearly in this well structured, well-written and engaging book.
The book is structured in to 3 main parts: You; Your people; and Your business. The You people part occupies more than half of the book – an appropriate balance given the title. Chapters in this part include coaching, influencing, facilitating, team building, motivation, performance management, conflict management and relational intelligence.
Towards the end of the book there is a short “and finally” chapter including a very helpful people management self reflection quiz. Each area in the quiz suggests an additional book that will help develop further the knowledge and skill of the reader. 14 of the 15 suggestions are by other authors and i too would recommend all those listed that I have read.
All chapters start with a thought provoking quote and end with a list of tips for success. Between these there is a mix of information including research; relevant, accessible models with clear explanations; experiences and anecdotes; self-assessment and reflection exercises; questions and suggestions.
The authors clearly state their own values and beliefs and these provide a solid rationale for the approaches discussed, “we believe the key to effective people leadership in organisations is to ……get back to the basic dimensions of relationship and cooperation”.
The book works well when read cover to cover and as an accessible, handy reference. It certainly meets the publishers description as “your toolkit for managing yourself, facilitating team performance and surviving and thriving in times of change”. In addition it is a stimulating and enjoyable read.
Overall I rate this book 4 stars. It is strongly recommended for managers and leaders at all levels and all stages of their career. For those new to leadership this is a 5 star – “must read” book.
4 stars: strong, strongly recommended for managers and leaders