The manager's mentor
A practical companion and guide to managing yourself and others in the human services
By Owen Booker

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Aiming to take the mystery out of management, and put mastery in, this book is a plain speaking companion for you to consult with. You will find ideas against which you can compare your practice and understanding, assistance with many of the common knotty issues that managers must deal with, and a background of management truths and knowledge that will contribute to the development of your skills. It is:
  • for people who 'get things done through people'more than doing them directly themselves: team leaders, section managers working alongside others, independent managers of separate units or facilities.
  • for people who are passionate, committed and determined about human services, whether in public, voluntary or commercial sectors, including social work, social care, youth work, community work, education, housing, benefits, and health and 'wellbeing' services.

  • Managers differ in ability, in as many different ways as there are different people. But competent action by managers is always more assured when the necessary issues are first fully reviewed. And when that review is assisted by good advice, self-confidence grows. That's what mentoring is about, and with this book you will benefit from a mentor that you can consult with whenever you wish.

    While other books and training might be about how to deliver a particular service, or mould a certain type of organisation, or undertake specific tasks, this book is about managing yourself and other people well, so that you can do all of these things - and anything else that might be required -in the best possible way. It may help you achieve a qualification, but it is about getting the job done.

    It is a book that can be read through from beginning to end, or be dipped into by choosing the part that seems to best relate to what you want to think about. It is carefully organised and clearly signposted to help you find your way around. It is not heavily referenced or peppered through with sources to bolster credibility, but it does contain a lot of ideas, together with some tools and participation tasks for you to use and engage with. Where helpful, there is guidance for you to do your own further research and reading according to your needs.

    This book does not shirk from setting things out as they are, nor does it bamboozle with much 'management speak'. It strives to be a good mentor, and give honest and immediate best advice, in the hope that it will help you be more successful, achieve your hopes more readily, and gain assurance and pleasure in your work.

    Large format paperback. 160 pages. 978-1-905541-24-9. Published 2008. £19.95


    Mystery Out - Mastery In
    Understand leadership
    Master management lore
    New public managerialism (NPM)
    Chaos theory
    Complexity theory
    Current model

    Have a plan

    Demonstrate skills
    Manager skills - what to do and be
    Leader skills - how to do and be
    Knowledge & understanding

    Things to Know and Understand.
    Know what you will do
    Prime task
    Professional review
    Know how well you do it
    Understand goals and objectives
    Analyse and review

    The value of manager lore
    Explicit and tacit knowledge
    Roles and function
    The claims gap
    Organisational cultures
    Directional shift - compass bearing
    How to manage change
    Know what the change will concern
    Use methods to manage change

    Manager Qualities to Show
    Show humility
    Be minded and curious
    Be self-aware
    The command - collaboration continuum
    Be aware of stress
    Facts to consider
    Stress arousal

    Be assertive
    Positive personal practice
    Collaboration and assertion
    Handle criticism

    Promote Positive Practice
    Communicate clearly
    External communication
    Personal authority

    Motivate and inspire
    Work security
    Regard and acknowledgement
    High-worth style

    Manage people well
    Team building
    Motivate through competence
    Set objectives
    Manage upwards
    Critical intervention
    Managing difficult people
    Common problems of staff behaviour
    Common problems of client behaviour

    Demonstrate professionalism
    Traps, tricks, & trades
    Manage team development
    Acknowledge your personal position
    Concluding checklist

    Practical preparation
    Prepare positively
    Risk control aka damage limitation
    Manage knowledge
    Managing information
    Managing records

    Manage the 'environments'
    Emotional environment
    Physical environment
    Systems environment

    Make administration matter
    Time and work
    Letters & memos
    Fax & email
    Make every person count
    Selection and retention
    Legal necessities
    Performance management
    Discipline and grievances
    Complaints and client assurance>
    Serious client allegations

    Apply Psychology
    Discourse and language analysis
    Listen to people and learn
    Rise above jargon
    The link between words and emotions

    Professional supervision
    Appropriate approaches
    Self care and accessing inner self Tolerance thresholds
    Work-life balance


    Owen Booker
    has worked with children and young people in the voluntary and statutory sectors, locally and nationally, and been involved with residential care, social work, education, and therapeutic communities. His roles have included teacher, trainer, advocate, care worker, manager, lay inspector, and community director. He now specialises in conflict reduction in human services and in response to behaviour difficulties; and works freelance to provide consultancy, training, and expert witness services. He is the author of Averting Aggression (RHP 1999, 2004).


    "An ideal read for all managers working with staff in 'human services'... a plain speaking, almost jargon free read, with part of its attraction derived from the author's sense of humour... packed full of practical ideas, tools and activities with a great deal of advice… several sound techniques for recognising and solving difficulties, all underpinned by background knowledge. The chapters I found particularly relevant were those covering practical aspects of professional life, including dealing with common client problems, looking after yourself, and staffing issues. The author concludes that, 'It has been the psychological ideas about people that have set me thinking or provided an insight that has served me best in all my dealings as a manager and although this is the last chapter, maybe this end is a good starting point'. I agree entirely… an excellent book that may motivate all who read it to develop their management ability further." Professional Social Work.