If you’re a manager and are looking for a formula to apply to your team so as to improve their performance, a word to the wise: this is not the book for you.
If you’re a manager and are looking for a great, easy, and fast way to increase your team’s performance and thus hopefully decrease your workload – why are you a manager again? – in any case, if that’s so, the same advice applies: this book is not for you.
Ever heard of the expression: “give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for life”? Well this expression could be remodelled thus, summing up this book: “Give a manager a formula, help him manage for a while, help a manager understand management, help him manage for life”.
Hey, I’m a writer, not a poet.
The author of The Supervision Solution: Manage Performance, Not People, John Roulet, tells us early on that the leader who most inspired him is Gandhi. The implications are huge: you, as a manager, are expected to be humble, to work hard, to stay true to your principles and to expect nothing in return. See what I mean about this book not being for the faint of heart?
The fact that the author’s manager of choice is Gandhi bodes quite well. However, I have to admit that I wasn’t ready to believe John Roulet did consider Gandhi as ‘the real deal’ unless, having finished the book, I found that all of it reflected his philosophy.
Then I realised that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about Gandhi. Oh well. I tried.
In all seriousness, this is a great book for managers and leaders of all sorts to read. For it doesn’t go into complicated diatribes about the philosophy of leadership, nor does it give boring, one-dimensional formulas that are said to work; rather, it accompanies managers to understand how they can become leaders, and bring out the inherent qualities in the individuals forming the teams they manage.
The premise is simple: all people inherently possess the potential to contribute positively to any organisation or team that they belong to. A manager, who is also a leader of sorts, helps bring about the conditions making it possible for the team’s potential – which is higher than the sum of each individual’s potential – to be as high as it can possibly be. It’s about removing obstacles so that people can become who they potentially can be. This is why humility is so important, for a true manager realises that he is a facilitator rather than a creator of greatness.