by Laurianne McLaughlin

Book Review – 12: The Elements of Great Managing

Jan 15, 20072 mins
IT Leadership

For the best lessons about managing, study real-life experts—not the “absolute best freaks of managerial nature” but the “gentle but determined souls you will find half the time in a great company, and one out of 10 times in a poor one.” That’s the advice behind 12: The Elements of Great Managing, a follow-up to the best-selling First, Break All the Rules (1999).

The first book drew on a massive base of research data about management from The Gallup Organization. Its successor adds analysis of newer responses to expand upon 12 truths about employees that great managers must use to their company’s advantage. Much of the advice centers around two core beliefs: You can’t ignore human nature, and managers who treat individuals well and inspire strong personal support from their employees help companies realize better results and higher profits.

The 12 truths range from the hard-to-argue “I know what is expected of me at work,” to the not-so-obvious “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important,” and the controversial “I have a best friend at work.” You may think this last one’s immature, but Gallup’s data shows otherwise.

The book discusses each truth in the context of profiling an actual manager’s struggles and successes. The 12 profiles have a global flavor, including tales from Poland and Brazil, befitting cross-industry research done in 41 languages and 114 countries.

If you’re trying to inspire your own team, you’ll find interesting examples here and not a lot of clich¿ oversimplified advice. When the book discusses a Texas hotel manager’s travails, for example, you’ll hear why colleagues didn’t like her at first. You’ll also find supporting data if you’re trying to convince colleagues that managers who inspire loyalty in teams are key to a company’s success.