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Professional service gurus David Maister and Patrick McKenna have created a practical handbook on how to lead professional colleagues or peers when you lack formal authority. Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge calls it “a timely, easy to read work leavened with action plans and examples.”
Whether you have recently been appointed as a group leader or are a battle-scarred veteran, you know that managing professional people is difficult! In this unique handbook, Patrick J. McKenna and David H. Maister argue that leaders will best enable their people to achieve peak performance not by managing them, not by leading them, but by inspiring them.
The authors show you how to actually add value as a group leader or induce people to accept your guidance, even with intelligent professionals who are often free-agents accustomed to having automony to work on grueling assignments with little supervision. They also give advice on how to handle those oh-so-talented but oh-so-annoying professionals who exhibit attitude problems or are just exceedingly difficult to work with, when you need them but they tend to needle you.
The lessons and learning presented here will give you insights and action tips to help you provoke and inspire your people to their full potential.
Organizations are more successful when they mold highly talented individuals into a cohesive group. But most talented people especially professionals hate to be managed. How to resolve this tension is the subject of this tightly focused, effective book by consultants McKenna (Herding Cats) and Maister (Practice What You Preach). Recognizing that all groups of professionals are different, the authors don't set off to create sweeping rules. Rather, they divide the task of leading groups of professionals into three parts what one must accomplish as the leader; how one wants to interact with individual members of the group; and how one wants to deal with the group as a whole and then offer concrete suggestions. A big part of this book's appeal is the authors' inherent understanding of how professionals resist overtly and otherwise being managed. Not surprisingly, McKenna and Maister spend a great deal of time explaining strategies for getting colleagues to agree to being led. They are particularly effective in outlining approaches for dealing with talented prima donnas (e.g., "listen to the individual's reasons for this behavior" and "inform the individual how improved behavior will improve his or her career"). This is a valuable resource for anyone in the position of trying to manage someone who was and still is, to a large extent a peer.