Becoming the Boss
I’m doing decently well in my career, but until this year I haven’t really supervised anyone full time. My first employee is young, and eager to learn, and I want to figure out how to be a good manager for her while also ensuring the work gets done well.
So I went in search of a good management book for someone like me. Let me tell you – the business and management section of most bookstores is bleak. It’s like the self-help section (odd cover art, weird fonts, bizarre titles), but without the soul. However, this book stood out as one that seemed less distressing and focused on money. Ms. Pollak has built her career providing advice and coaching to others, and with this book she is targeting the millennial generation, as they are the ones starting to step into leadership roles for the first time. Now, I am technically Generation X, but a lot of what she shares in this book still applies.
She starts with a history of business and management philosophies, which is a good place to find more books to read on this topic. She then moves in to ways to ‘learn,’ ‘lead,’ and ‘last.’ She has great suggestions on social networking, managing conflict, and different management styles. The way she presents the information worked really well for me; when I finished reading it I went through and copied down all the parts I really wanted to remember into a book so I would follow up on the items. I’m not going to end up doing everything she suggested, but I feel good about the ones I plan to pursue.
My only complaint is this one section, where she talks about outsourcing what you can. “If it will save you time for more important personal or professional priorities, why not hire a virtual assistant or intern to take care of tasks such as grocery shopping, scheduling haircuts and doctor’s appointments, running errands, hanging your new curtains, or even doing your holiday shopping?” Virtual assistant? Sure. But intern? I disagree. An intern should be learning about whatever field they are working in, so unless they are interning as a virtual assistant, suggesting people get one to hang curtains strikes me as inappropriate.
Despite that misstep (at least she didn’t suggest hiring an UNPAID intern), I feel good recommending this to others looking for a not-cheesy management book.