Managing Right for the First Time: A book review by Bob Morris

Managing Right for the First Time: A Field Guide for Doing It Well
David C. Baker
RockBench Publisging Corporation (2010)

All the management basics, well-presented

There are no head-snapping revelations in this book, nor does David Baker make any such claim. His purpose is to provide cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective coverage of management “basics” and he succeeds admirably. He calls his book a “field guide” but it could also serve as an operations manual, a primer, and – for first-time managers – an onboarding guide. Over the years, Baker explains, he has worked with leaders in hundreds of small businesses and this is noteworthy because the margin for error in such companies is very narrow and frequently fatal.

These are among the defining characteristics of an effective manager:

o  They manage themselves
o  They do what is right
o  They do it right
o  They manage tasks and resources efficiently
o  They are results-driven
o  They have a strong sense of personal accountability and
o  They hold others accountable to the same high standards

Baker covers these and other major business issues throughout the book after immediately establishing a direct and personal rapport with his reader. Relatively inexperienced managers will probably find the material most helpful. Next, in my opinion, are supervisors who may need to help a direct report get off to a good start when assuming new, perhaps more demanding responsibilities. There are dozens of do’s and don’ts and Baker covers most of them.

Here’s one of my personal favorites from Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” With all due respect to mastering certain management skills and techniques, success or failure is almost always determined by whether or not a manager has earned respect and trust.


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