Reviews – Managing for performance

Book: Managing for Performance by Pam Jones

If you are new to a management role, one of the hardest things can be the whole concept of delivering results through others.

Motivating people, getting them to realise their potential and dealing with those whose performance is poor, takes a huge amount of skill. Those who do it well are rewarded with more satisfying working lives and better performing teams. This book aims to act as a guide to achieving that happy state of being. Its unifying theme is the premise that to be an effective manager, it’s essential to understand yourself and others. ‘Remember, behaviour breeds behaviour. If you expect good performance and encourage people’s involvement and ideas they will be more likely to take responsibility and demonstrate initiative.’

The tools and resources to help readers achieve this are neatly packaged into a well-organised manual. It is divided into three sections, Getting the best from others, Developing effective relationships, and Building high-performing teams. The first section encourages reflection, starting with a quiz that enables readers to identify the assumptions they hold about the people they work with.

The second section focuses on relationship building. The author, Pam Jones, regards emotional intelligence as a key aspect of successful leadership. Coaching, feedback, and delegation are the core skills covered here. The final section explores why teams fail to achieve their potential. There’s a chapter entitled Team Tool Kit, which provides practical techniques for establishing clarity of purpose, building trust, and ensuring effective communication.

There is a lot to cover and learn, but the layout and organisation of the book make that as easy as it can be. Topics are well signposted, the approach is logical and systematic. Self-assessment exercises are regular features and useful for reinforcing points made; case studies show how the theories translate into real-life situations. It’s a book you can easily dip into if there are particular issues you need to resolve. The summaries at the end of each chapter are comprehensive so if you don’t have time to read the whole thing you can choose which section to concentrate on by working backwards from these.

This book is a valuable guide for anyone who needs to motivate and influence others. For those new to management, it provides a thoughtful and practical guide; for established managers, it’s an opportunity to explore new approaches to areas that are problematic. Aspiring managers can use it to gain a grounding in the theory of performance management that will help them impress at interview.

Irene Krechowiecka is a careers coach and journalist