Management legend Henry Mintzberg (whose Berrett-Koehler books have sold over 225,000 copies worldwide) says we need to bring managing down from thin air and onto solid ground. Leaders need to be deeply rooted in what’s happening on the front lines, not isolated in the privileged confines of the boardroom.
“Enough of heroic leadership, it’s time for engaging management!” is the rallying cry from management and leadership giant Henry Mintzberg. He establishes this theme in the first story in the book, about the CEO of a failing airline who always flew comfortably in first class, blithely unaware of the terrible things happening with his customers in coach (in this case, being served famously inedible scrambled eggs). Managing can’t be about sitting where you have become accustomed, insulating yourself–it has to be about eating the scrambled eggs. So Mintzberg urges leaders to call their own call centers, work with their workers, expect extraordinary ideas from ordinary people. Be a keynote listener, not a keynote speaker. Don’t say “top management” if you won’t say “bottom management.” In this best-of collection from his popular, entertaining and irreverent blog, Mintzberg writes that he captures “a lifetime of learning about managing and organizing and strategizing, while getting out many of the ideas that I buried in obscure publications… If some strike you as outrageous, please understand that my most outrageous ideas tend to be my truest.” This is Mintzberg at his most playful, but always with serious intent.