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Book reviews: The ‘Your Turn’ series


Title: Your turn – 26 weeks to become a competent manager
Title: Your turn – Line Manager’s Guide
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Reviewer: John Pope

These two important books are on the same theme of improving the quality of management. They are designed to help front-line managers and team leaders make a success of their first management positions. I can think of many senior managers who would get real and substantial benefits by following this strong down-to-earth, practical advice and guidance.

'YOUR TURN - 26 weeks to become a competent manager' is a hand-book which starts with explaining the role of the manager and advises the 'beginner' on getting off on the right foot, establishing position, clarifying what is expected, identifying authority and responsibilities. It advises setting a weekly half-hour slot with the superior and suggests topics to cover. Over the following weeks it sets out key management skills. It always gives clear practical advice on dealing with issues which too many managers shirk, such as dealing with a discipline or  performance issue. At the end of six months it sets a test, self-scored and suggests projects for further development. Too many new managers take too long to acquire the important skills, and too many fail as a result. A new manager who takes the advice which Your Turn gives will have a strong foundation and have few problems in developing further.  I think it excellent value for money.

'YOUR TURN - Line Manager's Guide' is a counterpart written to help the new manager's superior in the same way.  It contains more detailed suggestions for discussions and action. The advice it gives is designed to help senior and junior develop an effective and very constructive relationship. The emphasis on continuous and structured improvement when followed up will make it easy at annual appraisal or performance review to build strong effective development plans. However it does not have the same impact as Your Turn. There are various suggestions for its use, one of which is as the basis for an induction programme. It is clearly expensive and most would be deterred from buying it except for multiple use. Since its marketing is still a little vague I suggest members view it themselves on the Your Turn website. It is also worth looking at it on Amazon.

Few present-day managers will remember Training within Industry (TWI), imported from the US in the 1940s, a structured approach to give managers clear practical guidance and reliable processes for dealing with difficult situations. It was abandoned in favour of flashier methods, but old managers still cling to the prompt cards which accompanied the sessions. There are too few practical books on the same lines. Your Turn is practical, ready-to-use help for managers and, though designed for the new first-line manager, is useable at all levels. Easy to read, easy to remember, it will help managers and their seniors develop good, productive relationships at work. I believe both books are worth many videos and distance learning packages since they concentrate on mutual involvement of manager and subordinate to understand eachothers jobs.

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