On Managing People


It was one of those times where staff issues was very frustrating that i came in contact with this book. My hubby, in a show of support bought it for me. Good one beau. Even though it took me several months to finally read it, it was waiting patiently and definitely worth the wait – Tosan A.

HBR’S 10 MUST READS On Managing People| Harvard business review press| 2000| 224pages

The book is a compilation of 10 important articles on managing people in the workplace. It is directed at both young and experienced leaders with fresh insights on tackling age-old problems and new ways of looking at recurring challenges.

For seasoned leaders, areas of interest would include fair process in engaging staff, leadership styles, training new managers, avoiding bias, and of course motivating employees. For the young leaders, areas of interest would include emotional intelligence, learning what great managers do, understanding how teams function and very importantly, learning to manage your boss! There are definitely articles that flow within the two groups of managers/leaders (maybe for those in the middle; you should just read all of it).

My favorites were articles 1, 4,and 10 because they were expository (1), very relevant (4) and really interesting (10) while my least favorite was article 8 because I felt it was more philosophical than practical.

Learning points

  • An introduction into the world of emotional intelligence – (definitely a future feature)
  • newer ways to motivate staff
  • Stopping the vicious cycle that managers create in trying to help an employee who is seen or perceived to be performing below standard.
  • Preparing new managers for the role ahead, shifting the focus away from technical expertise to more of people management and delivering results through teams.
  • Understanding the game of chess been played by great managers in managing people through identifying and capitalizing on their strengths, understanding the triggers that set off their strengths and respecting their individual learning styles in coaching them.
  • Learning how employees can be a part of management’s decision-making through their involvement, management respecting them enough to explain the thought behind their decision and clearly explaining their new responsibilities and performance standards. Also providing remedial action where the absence of fair process has become costly.
  • Learning how to unlearn. How professionals who are used to being ‘right’ are poor students in learning where it involves their own performance
  • How to constantly remain objective as business leader.
  • Learning what differentiates working groups from teams and how to get the best out of your ‘team’.
  • How employees manage their bosses – you (it is not always political)


  1. Leadership that gets results – Daniel Goleman
  2. One more time: How do you motivate employees? – Frederick Herzberg
  3. The set-up-to-fail syndrome  – Jean-François Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux
  4. Saving your rookie manager from themselves – Carol A. Walker
  5. What great managers do – Marcus Buckingham
  6. Fair process: Managing in the knowledge economy – W. Chan Kim and Reneé Mauborgne
  7. Teaching smart people to learn – Chris Argyris
  8. How (un)ethical are you? – Mahzarin R. Banaji, Max H. Bazerman, and Dolly Chugh
  9. The Discipline of teams – Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
  10. Managing your boss – John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter.

Tosan’s take : It is a book for keeps as you move up from managing a handful of people to managing thousands to achieve your set goals. You need it on your shelf.

33 thoughts on “On Managing People

  1. My Trigger Points are: Learning how to unlearn, differentiating working groups from teams, emotional intelligence and how employees manages their bosses.
    Your summarized learning points makes the book a real sought after, and will of course be read in the coming month.
    Thank you for sharing.


  2. Nice one, madam! I am convinced that the details of this work, if read, will enhance the skills of managing those around you regardless of the environment. Looking forward to getting one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Tosan. No. 4 will really make me get this book because it will be a total waste of what you have laboured for if after identifying your rookie, you just hands off him. If rugged, he may survive but will never forget that you were not there for him when most needed. Our perfect example Jesus did not leave us to ourselves, he sent Holy Spirit. Thanks so much Tosan.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is indeed very interesting and very relevant. It is also interesting to know that “employees also mange their bosses”. Well done Tosan

    Liked by 1 person

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