A half century ago Peter Drucker put management on the map. Leadership has since pushed it off. But “instead of distinguishing managers from leaders,” Henry Mintzberg writes, “we should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well.” Mintzberg aims to restore management to its proper place: front and center.
To gain an accurate picture of management as practiced rather than management as preached, Mintzberg watched twenty-nine different managers work a typical day. They came from business, government, and nonprofits, from all sorts of industries, including banking, policing, filmmaking, aircraft production, retailing, and health care, and worked in diverse settings ranging from a refugee camp to a symphony orchestra. These observations form the empirical basis for this book.
Mintzberg shows that in the real world managers cannot be the reflective, systematic planners idealized in most management books—realities like the unrelenting pace, the frequent interruptions, and the dizzying variety of activity make that impossible. Recognizing this, he outlines a new model of management: not a list of tasks but a dynamic process in which managers accomplish their purpose working through information, through people, and, more rarely, through direct action. Mintzberg describes the various roles managers adopt to function on these three planes, emphasizing that they must work on all of three simultaneously, determining the balance best suited to their specific, unique situation. Which is why management, Mitzberg insists, is not a profession—“it is a practice” he writes, “learned primarily through experience, and rooted in context.”
Having established the nature of modern management, Mintzberg looks at the varieties of managing experience. He identifies twelve factors that influence managing, highlighting the ones that are truly important (not necessarily the ones you’d think) and offers an illuminating typology of different approaches to management—what he calls postures of managing. He provides insightful ways of dealing with some of the most vexing conundrums managers face, and ultimately pulls everything together to offer a comprehensive picture of true managerial effectiveness—an approach he calls “engaged management.”
This book is vintage Mintzberg: provocative, irreverent, carefully researched, myth-busting. It is the most authoritative and revealing book yet written about what managers do, how they do it, and how they can have the greatest impact.