September 1, 2009
A half century ago Peter Drucker put management on the map. Leadership has since pushed it off. Henry Mintzberg aims to restore management to its proper place: front and center. “We should be seeing managers as leaders,” Mintzberg writes, “and leadership is management practiced well.”
This landmark book draws on Mintzberg’s observation of twenty-nine managers, in business, government, health care, and the social sector, working in settings ranging from a refugee camp to a symphony orchestra. What he saw – the pressures, the action, the nuances, the blending – compelled him to describe managing as a practice, not a science or a profession, learned primarily through experience and rooted in context.
But context cannot be seen in the usual way. Factors such as national culture and level in hierarchy, even personal style, turn out to have less influence than we have traditionally thought. Mintzberg looks at how to deal with some of the inescapable conundrums of managing, such as, How can you get in deep when there is so much pressure to get things done? How can you manage it when you can’t reliably measure it?
Every manager is flawed, Mintzberg writes: the best of them have flaws that are not fatal in the context. He offers a compelling vision of what constitutes truly effective management, “a tapestry woven of the threads of reflection, analysis, worldliness, collaboration, and proactiveness.”
This book is vintage Mintzberg: iconoclastic, irreverent, carefully researched, myth-breaking. Managing may be the most revealing book yet written about what managers do, how they do it, and how they can do it better.
Henry Mintzberg is Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University in Montreal and the winner of awards from the most prestigious academic and practitioner institutions in management (Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management, Association of Management Consulting Firms, and others). He is the author of fifteen books, including Managers Not MBAs, Strategy Safari, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, and Mintzberg on Management, and is a founding partner of www.CoachingOurselves.com. For more information on his activities, visit www.mintzberg.org.