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Managing by Mintzberg

In association with the British Library, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) run the  “Management Book of the Year” competition.  Henry Mintzberg’s “Managing” won “CMI Management Book of the Year 2010” which is described as follows:

“Managing: the most revealing book yet written about what managers do, how they do it and how they can do it better.”

“This ground-breaking book draws on Mintzberg’s personal observations of 29 managers in a fascinating range of settings.  What he saw – the unrelenting pace, the frequent interruptions, the lack of any tangible signs that the job is ever complete – has compelled him to describe managing as a practice, not a science or a profession, one learned primarily through experience and rooted in context.  His probing analysis of management in action allows him to offer a compelling vision of what constitutes truly effective management.”

“This landmark book by one of the world’s leading business thinkers is about managing, pure if not simple.  It tackles the big questions managers everywhere face, such as:

  • How is anyone supposed to think, let alone think ahead, in this frenetic job?
  • Are leaders really more important than managers?
  • Is email destroying management practice?
  • Are managers the only ones who can, or should, manage?
  • How are managers supposed to connect when the very nature of their job disconnects them from what they are managing?
  • How can you manage it when you can’t reliably measure it?

Managing makes sense of what might be the world’s most important job.”

Chapter 1: Managing Ahead

Chapter 2: The Dynamics of Managing

Chapter 3: A Model of Managing

Chapter 4: The Untold Varieties of Managing

Chapter 5: The Inescapable Conundrums of Managing

Chapter 6: Managing Effectively


Some quotes which resonated with me:

“The manager has to help bring out the best in other people, so that they can know better, decide better, and act better.” 

“Managing is … all of them: it is controlling and doing and dealing and thinking and leading and deciding and more, not added up but blended together.”

“… the job of managing is significantly one of information processing, especially through a great deal of listening, seeing, and feeling, as well as a good deal of talking.”

“… on the individual level, managers coach, train, mentor, teach, counsel, nurture: in general, they help develop the individuals in their units.”

“…the job of development is perhaps best seen as managers helping people to develop themselves.”

“Probably the most popular typology … has been that of Myers-Briggs … I have never been much of a fan of this (having never been able to get past Sensing vs. Intuition:  Is not Thinking, more specifically analyzing, the opposite of Intuition?  I prefer Maccoby’s (1976) simpler categories of managers as:

  • reliable craftsmen
  • power-hungry jungle fighters
  • steady company men or
  • competitive gamesman

“Let me re-iterate.  Personal style is important, no question.  But that seems to be more about how managers do things, including the decisions they make and the strategies they shape, than what they do as managers.  In this regard, the literature, practitioner and academic alike, may be vastly overrating the importance of personal style.  Style matters and context matters, but mostly, they matter together, in a symbiotic relationship.”

“Effective managers think for themselves.”

“Managing is a tapestry woven of the threads of reflection, analysis, worldliness, collaboration, and pro-activeness, all of it infused with personal energy and bonded by social integration.”