Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on 11 July 2020
Like most HBR guide books this is but a curated set of articles that fit the heading, which makes it a veritable hodgepodge of some amazing actionable advice and some loose writings with barely any meaningful examples. Having said that one can definitely benefit from it particularly if one is in the starting stages of the career.
This should be taken more like a reference book that one needs to refer whenever in doubt, since this book can only make one aware of things, and it is unto him/her to deliberately practice them whenever an opportunity arises.
At any rate, here are my top takeaways from the book:
1. Managing up is important because your boss plays a pivotal role in your success—or your failure.
2. Learn his feelings about what’s important in management — such as careful planning, decisiveness, building consensus — and make sure you develop and display those qualities.
3. In general, no boss likes to be surprised or seem ignorant of something she should know. If you must err, do it on the side of overinforming.
4. Those who speak up only when they disagree will usually enjoy less influence than those who have demonstrated prior support. So on those occasions when you do honestly agree with your boss, say so clearly and explicitly.
5. Reach agreement on the results you’re expected to produce— what will happen by when. Do this at the beginning, and update expectations periodically. Warn your boss of potential risks, and play out various scenarios of how you might handle them.
6. Do you present a problem and expect your boss to solve it? Many bosses resist that approach. Instead, try going in with a problem, an analysis, alternatives, and a recommendation he can react to.
7. Negotiate what you need from your boss. Don’t make him guess.
8. If you’ve identified an opportunity, show the potential benefits—not just to you or your team, but to the larger organization.
9. Ask your mentor about her personal goals and see how you can help her achieve them.
10. Leading or joining a cross-functional team is a great way to contribute to the larger organization.
11. “Once you become a victim, you cease to become a leader,” — So once you start identifying yourself as victim, you expect someone else to solve the problem for you, forgoing your leadership qualities. Instead, if you take it as an opportunity to learn or prove yourselves, suddenly the situation becomes an interesting challenge.
12. If you want your boss to use her authority on your behalf, give her everything she needs to build her case: assemble data, write drafts, zero in on how your request fits into larger unit or organizational goals.
13. When your bosses work remotely (or when you do), you need to overcommunicate to make up for the lack of face-to-face time.
14. Most bosses prefer proactive employees.
15. Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self- awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest—with themselves and with others.
16. Self-awareness extends to a person’s understanding of his or her values and goals. Someone who is highly self-aware knows where he is headed and why. The decisions of self-aware people mesh with their values; consequently, they often find work to be energizing. They have a firm grasp of their capabilities and are less likely to set themselves up to fail by, for ex- ample, overstretching on assignments. They know, too, when to ask for help.
17. Self-regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation, is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings. People engaged in such a conversation feel bad moods and emotional impulses just as everyone else does, but they find ways to control them and even to channel them in useful ways.
18. Motivated people are driven to achieve beyond expectations—their own and everyone else’s. They are forever raising the performance bar, and they like to keep score. And it follows naturally that people who are driven to do better also want a way of tracking progress—their own, their team’s, and their company’s.
19. Social skill, rather, is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire.
20. Core relationships should result in more learning, less bias in decision-making, and greater personal growth and balance. The people in your inner circle should also model positive behaviors, because if those around you are enthusiastic, authentic, and generous, you will be, too.
21. Realize the need to focus on cultivating a network rather than allowing it to organically arise from the day-to-day demands of your work.
22. We accept flattery even if we recognize it as such.
23. Make numerical data more compelling with examples, stories, and metaphors that have an emotional impact.
24. Your colleagues are less likely to resist when they feel you’ve taken the time to acknowledge their concerns.