Dixon’s debut work explores the corporate jungle from a manager’s perspective.
Sometimes, a new manager will begin his or her job with a head full of management training and little idea of how to apply it. This book is designed to help new managers take all that theory and turn it into practice. Dixon begins with a brief overview of his theory on human nature: People are mostly selfish and always working to advance themselves while hiding behind a mask of civility. Managers who don’t appreciate that fact will struggle, he says. After expanding on this theory with some examples, Dixon also describes the very real trouble he ran into during his own first management position. Dixon’s strategies are somewhat inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” As Dixon puts it, good managers must possess both a velvet glove (skills of persuasion and rapport) and an iron fist (willingness to bring negative consequences to bear, including terminating a problematic employee). While Dixon’s grim view of human nature can be a bit off-putting, his management strategies and tactics are fairly sound. The specific examples and case studies he provides form a solid bridge between theory and practice while reminding managers that however bad their own situation is, it could be worse. On the other hand, Dixon’s approach may lead inexperienced managers to mistrust their employees and expect the worst from them; perhaps employees will then respond in kind.
A fairly solid management approach if used cautiously and with an eye for consequences.