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Review: The Successful Manager’s Handbook


John Pope reviews The Successful Managers' Handbook - and wishes he had had a book like this when he first started as a junior manager.


Title: The Successful Manager's Handbook

Author: Moi Ali and 12 other writers, with an introduction by Robert Heller

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd. 2002 and brought up-to-date March 2009.

Price: £25

Reviewer: John Pope

I wish I had had a book like this when I first started as a junior manager – it would have given me excellent guidance in getting the best from my staff of 70, and saved me troubles which I have since learnt to avoid.

The title of 'handbook' is a little misleading; since it weighs almost four pounds and is two inches thick. It is really a reference book. It is very well presented and laid out, and is plentifully illustrated with examples and pictures. It has a strong clear structure which readers will find helpful and will save time.

It is arranged in 12 sections which, taken together, cover the general areas of personal effectiveness and organisation, influencing and dealing with people, developing staff, handling customers, and managing your life and career. The full list of sections is too long for this review. Each section has four or five sub-sections, each of which covers around five topics. The principles are always set out clearly, with clear guidance notes and checklists.There is a very full and helpful index – one of the best I have ever seen.

The tone is positive and encouraging throughout with far more 'do's' than 'don'ts'. I think there are some weaknesses – particularly on ways of handling difficult situations, confrontations and grievances. I also feel that the language used is rather abstract and a little woolly, but these are minor points. Managers will find answers to many of their questions, and get very good specific advice and general guidance. The section on 'writing effectively' is disappointing though. While the principles are set out clearly, some of the language used is old-fashioned and long-winded. But overall this is a very useful book in which even highly experienced managers will find something new and important.

John Pope has been a Management Consultant for 40 years. He splits his time between strategic consultancy, the reinvigoration of businesses, and the development of management teams. He has also been heavily involved in the development of management consultants and staff working in a consultancy role

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