Getting the Best from Management Books
I’ve just dropped an email to one of my client’s team members who’s working on improving their leadership and management skills. They’re young, capable and full of potential and they’re diving into their first management book. I thought it might be useful to share the email as you may know someone who’d benefit from a steer as to getting the best from a book.
These brief notes will be useful as you start to improve your leadership & management skills. Just like photography, leadership & management are skills. i.e. something that can be learnt and improved upon with deliberate practice. As with photography, its about learning a little and then putting it into practice. Learn, do, do, do, learn, do, do,do…..it’s a daily thing. However, its best to be disciplined, conscious and deliberate about learning and doing.
Management Books: good management books are excellent places to start. In essence, a management book is a distillation of someone else’s lessons – all the mistakes they made along the way, often over a lifetime, and how they put them right. Its far better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than insist on making your own! We all make our fair share anyway but let’s try and minimise them.
When you read a management book, read on purpose. Have an idea as to what you’d like to get from the book.
Read with a pen in your hand. Underline things, scribble in the margins (that’s what they’re there for), fold over the corners of pages, etc. Read for, say, 20 minutes and then stop and make some summary notes. Hopefully you’ve captured something that you can put into practice today or tomorrow. Then go and put it into practice. Try it out and see what happens.
Capturing what happens is almost as important as doing the reading in the first place so I’d recommend starting to keep a daily journal. Capture your thoughts, feelings, lessons, ideas from your day in written form. There’s something almost magical about writing things down. I can promise you that if you don’t write them down you will forget them and may loose the lessons. Its fine making mistakes (we’re not trying hard enough if we’re not making mistakes) but its less than fine to make a mistake more than once. At the end of the week and the month and the year you can go back and re-read your journal. Your journals will become an incredibly valuable resource. Who knows, if years to come, perhaps they’ll become the basis for your own management book!
You can let me know what you’ve learnt from The One Minute Manager, what you’ve applied and what happened as a result when we next meet. Buy yourself a nice journal too.
Speak to you soon.