Managing Teams – Four Key Lessons

Managing Teams

Some time ago I reviewed one of the Harvard Business Review Pocket Mentor books titled, Managing Teams (you can read that review here). I revisited the book and identified four key ideas to curate from the book. These ideas describe four obstacles that can hamper team effectiveness and how to overcome them. I have briefly described them below:

  1. The obstacle of low participation where team members don’t participate wholeheartedly in team meetings and activities.
  2. The obstacle of poor communication when teams communicate poorly and prevent the team from achieving its goals.
  3. The obstacle of ineffective team leadership when the team leader is the obstacle because they don’t  lead the team properly.
  4. The obstacle of destructive conflict where teams are experiencing the type of conflict that has negative impacts on the team.

These are four key issues that team leaders and managers cannot overlook and the book gives some great ideas on how to tackle them. Regarding my vision for Justbookideas, I am turning the four ideas into a learning tool that consists of a book summary and  group session that anyone can use to teach others about the four obstacles and how to overcome them. So please watch the space.

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Book Review – Training Practice By Penny Hackett

Training PracticeTraining Practice by Penny Hackett is one of those old books that still has a lot to offer in our current learning and development landscape. You might think because it has ‘training’ in the title, the book is not relevant, but that is simply not true. While there is some information you should not attention to anymore in the book, it has a lot of practices which I believe learning and development practitioners should go back to. For instance, it reminds us of what training is, the difference between training and learning and what makes training work. Continue reading

Book Review – Delegating Work

Delegating work

Another book in the Harvard Business Press Pocket Mentor series, this one focuses on helping managers to delegate work more effectively. The aim of this book is to show managers how to:

  • Identify tasks to delegate
  • Assign tasks and monitor their progress
  • Handle any problems with delegated tasks

Written by Thomas L Brown, this book has just 77 pages and is split into two main sections. One with the main content titled, Delegating Work: the basics, and a second section with extra tips and tools on the subject.

The first section is further divided into five topics, each of which I have reviewed briefly below.

What is delegating?

Here you will read some useful information on what delegating is. The purpose of delegating, benefits of delegating and concerns managers have about delegating are discussed. You will also learn about the difference between empowerment and delegating. Here are two nuggets for you: Continue reading

Book Review – Fostering Creativity

Fostering creativityThis is another book in the Harvard Pocket Mentor series, titled Fostering Creativity and written by Dorothy Leonard, a professor at Harvard Business school. Among other lessons this book aims to help us understand how to:

  • Identify opportunities for innovative solutions
  • Develop an environment conducive to creativity
  • Move a team from brainstorming to project execution

This book has just 78 pages and the content, which is really useful, is split into two main sections, the reading content titled Fostering Creativity: The Basics and a section with extra tools titled , Tips and Tools. I review both sections very briefly below.

Fostering Creativity: The Basics

 This section has five topical areas.

What is creativity?

This is a good start for a book on creativity as the author takes the time to define what creativity is. Here’s the definition used:

A process of developing and expressing novel ideas that are likely to be useful.

This is contrasted with innovation defined as:

The embodiment, combination, and / or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services.

Personally I found this definition on innovation to be unclear. But then author does clarify that innovation is the end process of creativity. Continue reading

Book Review – Pocket Mentor: Managing Time

Managing TimeThis book was written by Melissa Raffoni, who is the founder of Professional Skills Alliance. As is the case with the pocket mentor series , there are no chapters and the content is split across a number of topical sections, each of which I have briefly reviewed below. This book has just 92 pages of content which include the main topics and a separate section with tips and tools that I have also reviewed below.

Following are the topics and a brief review of each one.

 

Section 1 – How to leverage your time: asses and plan

This section contain three sub-topics.

How to look at the big picture

Two questions are answered here which are:

  • What’s the value of leveraging your time?
  • Why do we do what we do?

Also the importance of looking strategically at the big picture is discussed. Time leveraging is described as spending time wisely on activities that move you closer to your goals and is differentiated from managing time which are the day to day processes used to leverage time. The first step in leveraging time is to define one’s priorities and added to that is to be clear about why you do what you do. Answering questions such as, are you using your time to accomplish what you want? Are you simply running in place?, can help with this. Continue reading