The Essential Manager's Manual by Bob Heller and Tim Hindle teaches advanced managerial techniques to move people and organizations to a higher level of achievement. The manual covers the essentials of communication, presentation techniques, note taking and the proper mix of experience and delegation. Managers and their staff should have a neat appearance with pressed clothes and polished shoes for formal gatherings.
The authors begin with body language. They explain how to tilt the head as an indication of interest. The use of the direct gaze is another mode of conveying undivided attention. Raised eyebrows indicate significant attention and interest in the outcome. Closed eyes can mean doubt, a lack of understanding or deep thought. Turning the body away often signifies a lack of interest or the need for a break.
The presentation includes some very important advice on oral and written communications. For instance, the authors recommend trimming reports of all unnecessary and complex vocabulary. Meetings should be between 20 - 40 minutes and no more. Managers should employ facts and a minimum of emotion.
Advanced copies of meeting highlights should be circulated prior to the event so that people can prepare and ask intelligent questions. At least one participant should take notes and highlight important key words and concepts to have a record of what was discussed. Managers should always attend staff events to obtain informal feedback.
The authors recommend giving staff more autonomy rather than less. A caveat is that greater autonomy requires checking in at key milestones to make sure that the team has not strayed too far from agreed upon timetables and deliverables. In addition, managers should examine all alternatives and not just favored ones. Most of all, managers need the right experience to coach. The authors recommend delegating complex projects or portions thereof to experts or people having the requisite experience to see the task through to completion.
The Essential Manager's Manual by Heller and Hindle is an important acquisition for organizations small or large. The presentation is simple to read and understand. The issues covered are classic trouble spots for managers both new and experienced.