Serve Up, Coach Down Book Summary - Serve Up, Coach Down Book explained in key points
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Serve Up, Coach Down summary

Nathan Jamail

Mastering the Middle and Both Sides of Leadership

4.2 (164 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Serve Up, Coach Down by Nathan Jamail is a guide for leaders to create a winning team by empowering them to make decisions, take ownership, and be accountable. It emphasizes the importance of serving and supporting employees to achieve success at work and in life.

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    Serve Up, Coach Down
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Serving up means trusting your boss’s vision.

    Juanita is a middle manager, and she’s about to make a huge professional mistake.

    One of the best members of Juanita’s team has just quit, and Juanita’s boss has decided not to hire a replacement. Now Juanita’s staff feel overworked. She has even been taking on some of the workload herself, and she’s proud of being a great team leader. What’s more, Juanita has her colleagues’ best interests at heart. That’s why she’s going to demand that her boss replace the departed employee. 

    But what’s wrong with Juanita’s approach? Well, as the author puts it, she isn’t serving up.

    The key message here is: Serving up means trusting your boss’s vision.

    Juanita’s boss has decided a leaner team can deliver the same results. But Juanita hasn’t shown faith in this decision. She hasn’t consolidated her team’s workload or encouraged colleagues to develop new workflows. In short, she’s dismissed the logic of her boss’s decision and failed to streamline the team. 

    Juanita thinks she’s acting in her team’s best interest. But what’s actually happening is this: she’s missing an opportunity to give her staff new challenges and more responsibilities. Instead of encouraging their professional development, she’s giving in to their complaints. 

    It isn’t her job to relay the team’s frustration to the bosses. Her job is to translate the management’s vision to the team. If you’re in the middle, it’s not really up to you to strategize. But it is up to you to put strategy into action. 

    Serving up – trusting the boss’s vision – means accepting decisions with enthusiasm and conviction. And this allows you to perform your role with conviction, too. 

    Many middle managers are loath to serve up because they confuse serving up with sucking up. But there’s a huge difference. Sucking up is manipulative. A suck-up is a ‘yes-man’ – or a ‘yes-woman’ – who only ever says what they think people want to hear. Why do they do it? Usually to further their own agenda.

    Serving up, on the other hand, has no agenda. Someone who serves up is a team player. This person supports the mission and objectives of the firm. 

    For you as a middle manager, this can occasionally entail supporting decisions you don’t fully understand or agree with. But that support doesn’t need to be uncritical or unquestioning. 

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    What is Serve Up, Coach Down about?

    Serve Up, Coach Down (2018) is a corporate leadership guide for middle managers. It empowers workers to “master the middle” by sharing the strategies they need to effectively manage both their team and their boss.

    Serve Up, Coach Down Review

    Serve Up, Coach Down (2012) by Nathan Jamail is a valuable resource for leaders who want to improve their coaching skills and create a positive work environment. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides practical strategies to effectively manage and motivate teams, empowering leaders to bring out the best in their employees.
    • Backed by real-world examples, the book offers actionable advice on communication, accountability, and creating a culture of success.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable scenarios, the book is far from dull, making it an enjoyable and insightful read.

    Who should read Serve Up, Coach Down?

    • Middle managers hungry to hone their leadership skills
    • Team leaders who want to inspire their staff to do great work
    • Employees aiming to get the most out of their professional relationships

    About the Author

    Nathan Jamail is a management consultant, corporate coach, and former sales professional. Through his best-selling business books, workshops, and keynotes, Jamail shares his strategies for corporate success.

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    Serve Up, Coach Down FAQs 

    What is the main message of Serve Up, Coach Down?

    The main message of Serve Up, Coach Down is to lead with humility and empower others to succeed.

    How long does it take to read Serve Up, Coach Down?

    Reading time for Serve Up, Coach Down varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in under 15 minutes.

    Is Serve Up, Coach Down a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Serve Up, Coach Down is a valuable read for leaders. It offers insights on effective leadership and building a winning team.

    Who is the author of Serve Up, Coach Down?

    The author of Serve Up, Coach Down is Nathan Jamail.

    What to read after Serve Up, Coach Down?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Serve Up, Coach Down, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Lead Like a Coach by Karen Morley
    • The Making of a Leader by Tom Young
    • The Infinite Leader by Chris Lewis & Pippa Malmgren
    • Think Simple by Ken Segall
    • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
    • How to Be a Leader by Plutarch
    • No Bullsh*t Leadership by Christ Hirst
    • The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier
    • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen