This book was written to help you discover your basic
management style and compensate for your weaknesses so you can work
better with others – subordinates, peers, and those you report to –
whose management styles are different from your own. It does this by
providing prescriptions to follow for each management style, notes from
the battleground based on my experiences in coaching executives around
the world for the past 30 years.
The prescriptions are intended to enrich management styles, not to achieve a total personality change in managers.
The purpose of coaching is to make managers, whatever their
personal style, more flexible so they can work with others whose styles
are different. Granted, this represents more of an incremental,
continuous improvement than a revolutionary change or paradigm shift.
But that’s life. I do not believe people can change their innate
character. People do not change, but since they can get worse, they can
also get better, and that might be all that’s needed to be able to work
My premise, which I fully developed in The Ideal Executive and
reiterate in Chapter 1 of this book, is that the ideal leader, manager,
or executive does not and cannot exist. All the literature that
attempts to teach us to be perfect managers is based on the erroneous
assumption that it is possible. No one can excel at all of the roles
expected of leaders or managers. A person may excel in one or more
roles, but not in all of them under all circumstances.
Classic management theorists prescribe nostrums based on the
assumption that all managers have the same style and can be trained to
manage the same way. But this overlooks the fact that different people
organize, plan, and motivate --differently. Simply put, different
managers manage differently. What is needed is a complementary team.
But how can different management styles complement each other and work
together when they are so unlike each other?
The first step is to understand that the different styles speak
different languages; they infer different meanings from different words
and gestures. While conflict between the different styles is
unavoidable, learning to speak the language of the people we work with
allows us to build and nourish a complementary team and prevent
conflict from becoming destructive.
Pay attention to how your behavior affects others. If you know your
style, you also know that your style of communicating is apt to be
problematic for the other styles. If you know how it is problematic,
you can compensate. This is the purpose of the book: How to compensate
for your style so you can work with others, and how to coach them so
they can work with each other.