Rook Review: Confessions of an Unmanager

Recently I read Debra Boggan & Anna VerSteeg's book titled Confessions Of An Unmanager: Ten Steps To Jump Start Company Performance By Getting Others To Accept Accountability.

This is an interesting book that speaks to the great "divide" in corporate America.  The divide, they say, is the distinction between how management conducts themselves in relation to their teams they manage.

The authors suggest corporations function better with a "flat model."  Their suggestions are:

  1. Leaders should never command or dictate change.

  2. Employees should always be involved from the very beginning.

  3. Executives should not get privileged parking spaces.

Well, OK, the third point was not emphasized heavily, but was mentioned.

The flat-management approach emphasized in this book relates well to Agile Development team dynamics.  In an effective Agile team, input and influence from all are needed to produce superior customer value in the software product.  In fact, this book is listed as a favorite read on the leadership reading list.

The most valuable takeaway I got from reading this book was to think in terms of how my actions, as a manager, can either emphasize or minimize the space between management and the team.  A great suggestion they gave was to hold a team meeting directly after the executive meetings, thus symbolically minimizing this divide.

I think this is a good book to read once.

Mike J Berry