Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Do Bosses Need Managing?

Here at Soundview, as we watch the steady flow of business books pour across our desk, there is a recurring trend that doesn’t speak well for bosses. It seems that many people aren’t happy with the way their boss does his or her job, and they’re looking for ways to either work around their boss or “manage” him or her.

The most recent title in this vein is Lead the Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up by John Baldoni. In the acknowledgment portion of his book, Baldoni says his urge to write the book began with the needs of the men and women executives who he has coached, many of whom were “excelling in their jobs but found it sometimes difficult to get the attention of, interact with, or persuade senior leaders.” “Leading your boss,” he tells us in the prologue, “is really a metaphor for leading from the middle,” which actually encompasses leading your boss, your peers and your team for the ultimate good of the organization.

Other similar books published in recent years include The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell, Leading Up by Michael Useem and Managing Up by Rosanne Badowski and Roger Gittines. Maxwell even ventures to say that “the reality is that 99 percent of all leadership occurs not from the top but from the middle of an organization.” In the final Special Section of The 360 Degree Leader he mentions, “More than two-thirds of the people who leave their jobs do so because of an ineffective or incompetent leader. People don’t leave their company — they leave their leader.”

Clearly, good leaders are needed throughout an organization, not just at the top. But issues around trust, lack of transparency, ineffective communication and unclear direction — plus a few poor interpersonal skills — can easily undermine the effectiveness of any leader at any level. If you or your boss could use some perspective on effective leadership or management strategies, visit Soundview Executive Book Summaries for access to some helpful book titles.


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