Good People, Bad Managers Book Summary - Good People, Bad Managers Book explained in key points
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Good People, Bad Managers summary

Samuel A. Culbert

How Work Culture Corrupts Good Intentions

4 (78 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

'Good People, Bad Managers' by Samuel A. Culbert is a book that exposes the myths of conventional management and identifies practices that lead to dysfunction in organizations. It offers practical solutions for making workplaces healthier and more productive.

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    Good People, Bad Managers
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    Though most managers have good intentions, low-quality management has become the norm in many workplaces.

    People around the world admire the work culture in the United States. American businesses are perceived as successful and innovative, so couldn’t you assume that these companies have flexible, kind, talented and effective managers? Sadly, this is not the case.

    In reality, bad management is the rule, not the exception.

    Annual polling by US research company Gallup finds that four out of five people in management don’t have the talent to manage effectively. While there are many exceptions, particularly in start-ups and small businesses, the prevailing experience of employees in most companies and organizations includes bad management. Interestingly enough, results of an academic study showed that the most useful thing a manager can do to help employees is simply leave them alone when they are working productively, rather than offer misguided help.

    Additionally, bad management is so entrenched in our work culture that people expect it, shrug it off or don’t even notice it.

    Just consider the actions of Carly Fiorina, one of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. In 2006, when she was CEO of Hewlett Packard, Fiorina secretly eavesdropped on the IT company’s board of directors. For this, she was fired. Nonetheless, she was invited to join the board of the telecommunications company AT&T, and, when she ran for US Senate in 2010, she won the votes of more than four million Californians. So, despite her poor management, people were able to forgive or ignore her misbehavior in the context of workplace culture.

    But bad management must not be ignored; it should come under heavier scrutiny. Think of how much more profitable businesses could be, and how high the level of employee satisfaction could rise, if bad management weren’t so commonplace. To find out why it’s become so common, let’s move on to the next blink.

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    What is Good People, Bad Managers about?

    Good People, Bad Managers (2017) argues that the culture of the modern American workplace is perpetuating bad management without our being aware of it. The current management culture of self-preservation leads to behavior that actively harms well-being, productivity and motivation. Culbert explores why so many good people are trapped in the cycle of bad management, and makes a case for cultural change in our workplaces.

    Good People, Bad Managers Review

    Good People, Bad Managers (2011) sheds light on the detrimental impact that bad managers can have on organizations and offers insights on how to navigate and improve workplace dynamics. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides a refreshing perspective on management, challenging traditional paradigms and encouraging readers to question the status quo.
    • The book is filled with practical strategies and actionable advice, empowering individuals to take ownership of their work environment and drive positive change.
    • Through real-life stories and case studies, the author effectively illustrates the consequences of bad management, making the content relatable and captivating.

    Who should read Good People, Bad Managers?

    • Managers looking to improve their business
    • People who are interested in how work culture functions
    • Those who want to challenge conventional management approaches

    About the Author

    Samuel A. Culbert is an author, researcher and professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Culbert is also the author of Get Rid of the Performance Review!, Beyond Bullsh*t and Radical Management.

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    Good People, Bad Managers FAQs 

    What is the main message of Good People, Bad Managers?

    The main message of Good People, Bad Managers is the importance of effective management in bringing out the best in employees.

    How long does it take to read Good People, Bad Managers?

    The reading time for Good People, Bad Managers varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Good People, Bad Managers a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Good People, Bad Managers is a valuable read for anyone interested in improving leadership skills. It provides insights into common managerial pitfalls and offers practical solutions.

    Who is the author of Good People, Bad Managers?

    The author of Good People, Bad Managers is Samuel A. Culbert.

    What to read after Good People, Bad Managers?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Good People, Bad Managers, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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