Essence of a Manager

By Krishna Pillai
ISBN: 978-3-642-17580-0
Springer, 1st Edition, 2011, XIV, Hardcover

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Bo Dankis, Chairman of the Swedish Trade Council, says in his Foreword:

“This is a book by a manager about managers but it is not just for managers. It is for anyone who is interested in the way people behave and function around the world. It is not a management manual and yet it is a map for navigation and a guide for behaviour which can be valuable for practising managers at all levels. It is not a handbook of cultural differences across different countries but it deals with the fundamental drivers which lie deeper than language or culture and which control human behaviour. ……….

In this book he weaves together his central thesis about the qualities of a good manager which he illustrates by anecdotes and his own experiences.

………. This book is not just for managers. But it should be required reading for every young manager or student on an MBA course. It would benefit all managers who must deal internationally. It could be useful in team-building and change management situations for executives and in management teams. And, for any reader who is interested in such things, this book is a fascinating story of real human behaviour around the world”.

Lars-Otto Gullman, former Director Metallurgy, Sapa Technology, Finspång

“I wish I had read Essence of a Manager some 40 years ago, prior to my own industrial career! A similar presentation of the demands on a manager and how a manager can develop his abilities I have not seen till now. In Essence of a Manager the author analyses the nature of the personal qualities a good manager must possess to be able to perform his tasks in a satisfactory way. A method, based upon interview technique, is presented as an effective means of identifying potentially good managers. Many examples are given from the author´s long and worldwide experience of managements styles in different countries and cultures.

The content and pedagogical disposition of the book makes it most suitable as a text-book at universities and institutes with education in management and personal development. I also warmly recommend Essence of a Manager for study at company-internal education courses as well as at the onset of all kinds of projects where effective management is required”

Pär Almhem, President, Pharmadule, Inc., Hermosa Beach, CA

“Overall, I find Essence of a Manager manages to put into words some things I strongly agree with, but have never been able to put down in words. While I do not agree with all the conclusions, it helped me rethink a few critical areas, both as a manager myself, and in relation to my current boss and my own future.

I found the anecdotes about managers in different global situations both amusing and, to me at least, surprisingly accurate.

I love the attribute “class” when describing a good manager. That includes certain aspects that are otherwise hard to explain or put a label to. I have also found the use of hypothetical scenarios as described in the book very effective not just in a recruiting situation, but also for training, and aligning a team for a purpose. The distinction made between “good” or “successful” vs. “sound” with regard to judgment is critical, but most times is completely ignored. I find the discussion about communication excellent.

The carrot and stick section regarding motivation is probably the best analysis I have seen on this subject. Usually, carrots and sticks are just opposites on one axis but the book introduces another dimension that I think is excellent.

On a very personal note, I recognize several of the cases in the book and some of these gave me insights I never had before! It was a pleasure reading this book”.

Dr. David Lewin , formerly Senior Vice President, EPCOR Utilities Inc., Edmonton

“I enjoyed the personal analysis of the different cultures impacting the definition of a “Manager”. I particularly appreciated the factual yet light hearted approach to this otherwise “dry” topic.

This book should be “recommended reading” and not only for those wishing to design and implement a structured interview process which would minimize the risk of hiring the wrong candidate.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the manuscript and as an engineer I appreciated the “engineering analogies”.

Dr. Meryl Dhir, Opthalmic Surgeon, Vrinnevi Hospital, Norrköping

“I started to read this book out of curiosity, curious to find out if this “Handbook” for the aspiring manager could be relevant for me in any way (I am an eye surgeon). I had vague fears that this would be yet another “How to succeed as..” book in a certain, typically American style. My fears were soon laid to rest as I read the first chapters, especially the chapter about the “good manager” and the author’s many facetted meaning of good and goodness.

There followed an exposition on power and the proper exercise of power. ”Authority may be given but responsibility must be taken”, a recipe for choosing “the right man” for a managerial job, advice to the young manager starting out in his career and an extensive description of the ideal manager, the “good manager”. Thereafter one may read of the “Art of Motivation: of carrots and sticks” and a chapter on courage “The subordination of fear to purpose”.

The final chapter was my favourite “A Touch of Class”. “Class is not appearance and it is not personality or charisma; it is a style and elegance of behaviour and a consistency of actions”.

This then is what this book is all about, not the recipe for success and economic gain for up and coming giants of industry, but a very personal description, with many examples drawn from Dr. Pillai?s own wide experience of international management, of the yardstick which a good manager, this moral man, this “Man for all Seasons” should measure himself by.

These criteria apply however, not just to aspiring managers but to all who lead, whether it be a team of two or three or of several hundreds, in industry, in the world of academia or in the field of medicine.

This book has something to say to us all. Read it!”

Table of contents
Preface
Sample pages

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