November 3, 2017

Top Five Books for Managers #1: 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You can Avoid Them

This is the first in a series of five posts by management expert, Jeannie Finkel. In this series, Jeannie weighs in on the top five books for managers, featuring one book each week.

Being a great manager is a skill that benefits from constant honing and refinement. While some are born with the innate ability to influence others, inspire action, and drive results, most leaders require a great deal of training, practice, and studying to become as effective as they hope to be. There are many incredible management training courses available, but they can be very pricey. Luckily, there is a wealth of information that can help you transform the way you lead and manage your team available for free, from the local library.

While some are born with the innate ability to influence others, most leaders require a great deal of training. Share on X
Thirteen Fatal Errors Managers Make Book Cover
The Top Five Books for Managers


Book #1: 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them

Author: W. Steven Brown


What it’s all about: Brown draws on his years of experience as a sales and management coach and consultant, working with Fortune 500 companies, to identify the top errors managers tend to make repeatedly, so we can recognize and stop doing them, or better yet, avoid committing them in the first place. The good and somewhat surprising news he shares is that there really aren’t that many – just 13 of them! He describes each one clearly, illuminating why the error gets in the way of achieving our goals as managers, and provides stories, examples, and suggestions to help us understand what the error looks like and how to correct it. He also ends chapters with helpful tools and a workbook section to create an action plan, summarize your key learnings, and think about how you’ll apply them.


What You’ll Learn: Whether you’re a new manager or one who’s been around a long time, there’s something in this little book for everyone. For newer managers, especially if you’ve been promoted from among a group of your former friends and peers, the transition to the role of “boss” and having to hold your friends accountable, can be very tough. For those in this tricky situation, the chapter,Fatal Error #8: Be a Buddy, Not a Boss,” might really help.


For more experienced managers, who find yourselves wishing you could get your team to be more productive, there are great insights in the chapters “Fatal Error #3: Try to Control Results Instead of Influencing Thinking,” and “Fatal Error #7: Concentrate on Problems Rather than Objectives.” Or, maybe you’ve always been a top performer, and even though you set a high bar for your team, somehow, you know they can do even better. The chapters, “Fatal Error #5: Manage Everyone the Same Way,” and “Fatal Error #12 Recognize Only Top Performers,” could provide some good tips!


Why it’s a Must Read: I bumped into this book soon after it was first published, when I was a young manager. It was a godsend to me, as the firm I worked for did not provide any management training so I had to figure things out for myself. I discovered that I was committing most of these errors, and I quickly realized that the suggestions the author provided actually work. When I applied them to my own role, I became a much better leader of people, in large part because of the simple lessons this book offers.


This is a top management book I revisit every so often, and I recommend it to any new manager who’s just starting their leadership journey, as well as more experienced managers looking to strengthen their leadership skills. It’s really easy to read – you can probably finish it on a cross country plane flight or quiet Sunday afternoon – but the wisdom sticks with you long afterwards!


Look out for more book recommendations from management expert, Jeannie Finkel, as we continue our series on The Top Five Books for Managers. No matter where you are in your career, feeding your student mentality with advice from the top management experts can only aid you in your quest to reach your current and future goals and achieve success.


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portrait of Jeanie Finkel, Chief People Officer at Cydcor.
Jeannie Finkel, Chief People Officer at Cydcor.

Jeannie Finkel, Chief People Officer at Cydcor, the recognized leader in outsourced sales, has more than twenty-five years of business experience, managing human resources and administration at top firms. Jeannie served for nearly twelve years as a Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Charles Schwab & Co. Jeannie was also Head of Human Resources and Administration for a leading asset management firm, and she served as Managing Director, Talent Management Systems and Strategies for a Fortune 100 organization. Jeannie later became a Partner with leading global retained search firm, Heidrick & Struggles. With years of experience managing teams and overseeing organizations, Jeannie is a seasoned expert in management, administration, and leadership.