Reviews – Inspirational manager

Book: Inspirational Manager: How to Build Relationships that Deliver Results by Judith Leary-Joyce

Imagine what it could be like if the team you managed were driven by a desire to make sure they never let you down. It’s not hard to believe that your results would be better and your stress levels non-existent. According to Judith Leary-Joyce, being an inspirational manager is remarkably simple: ‘It’s just about building strong relationships and being trustworthy.’

Simple it might be, but that doesn’t mean there’s a quick fix. This is a book that requires a long-term commitment to evaluating your way of working and making changes in the light of your discoveries. Throughout the book there are quotes and anecdotes from 12 managers regarded as inspirational by the author. They represent a range of sectors and their experiences are ones readers will readily relate to.

The 14 chapters are a mixture of short sections of prose, questions, quotations, bulleted lists, exercises, and case studies. Each chapter has a summary then a suggested action plan which prompts the reader to undertake a series of actions straight away, next week, and next month – which all makes for rather dense and demanding reading.

It’s a book you need to work through in a series of short, intensive sessions. If you were to do everything suggested it could take several years, because it challenges you to evaluate what you’re doing now, make changes, and then evaluate the effect of those. Many busy managers may feel they simply do not have the time for this. The comprehensive index and well signposted chapters, however, do allow readers to dip in and out.

As much of the learning is cumulative, a reader may not always be able to implement the strategies for some of the aspects covered without having done the groundwork first. Chapter 11, for example, concentrates on holding tough conversations, but the strategies highlighted in that chapter do largely rely on having built up strong relationships in the first place. Other topics covered, such as performance management, recruitment, and delegation, are more stand alone.

If you are new to a management role this book provides valuable pointers on how to build relationships that will make life easier, more pleasant, and more productive for all. If you are established in the role and feeling stressed and unhappy, it could equip you with insights into why that is.

Irene Krechowiecka is a careers coach and journalist