New book suggests skills all bosses need to lead effectively

Think back to your most inspiring manager. What did he or she do that made going to work not only enjoyable but fulfilling?

Chances are they set a strong agenda, built up a compelling company culture, engaged with you and your co-workers and focused on boosting people’s drive to do their best work, all the time. That kind of manager sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

But it can be a reality for more businesses, according to authors Julian Birkinshaw and James Manktelow. The duo, which includes the CEO from Mind Tools, has authored a new book—“Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss—said to be a timely “tool belt” for managers who want to help their teams do their best work in any circumstance.

The need for good managers is more significant than ever, the authors say. Just as the economy is gathering steam, managers are receiving less and less support within the average workplace. Training, investment and creative ways to boost management education is at a low, and managers are struggling to keep up, the authors say.

The most effective managers, they say, are able to inspire people with a compelling soft skillset, staying on top of the practical details to enable the team to reach its goals. No single strategy or tool can make that happen, which is why this comprehensive, go-to resource offers the 100 most important management and leadership skills you need to be a great boss.

Manktelow, who is founder and CEO of, has written, edited, and contributed to more than 1,000 articles, more than 60 workbooks, and seven books and e-books on management and leadership, including Manage Your Time and Manage Stress.

Birkinshaw is a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, deputy dean for programs, and academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He is the author of 14 books, including Fast/Forward, Becoming a Better Boss, and Reinventing.

The authors came up with what they see as necessary manager skills through a survey of 15,242 managers and professionals worldwide. Ultimately, they say there is no “quick fix” for becoming a better boss, and one-time, one-size-fits-all training is typically ineffective.

Each chapter provides succinct, step-by-step explanations of each skill, along with links to expanded coverage and self-guided exercises on the website. This format allows you to quick-reference every proficiency in order to find the tool needed without spending too much time researching individual techniques.

Here are some ways they say managers can use their book:

  • Build your individual skill set of confidence, playing to your strengths and maintaining a productive mindset—all while managing your big picture of time management, personal health, and career goals.
    • Get things done with the research-based collection of dependable tools for solving problems, making smart decisions, and fueling your team’s creativity and innovation.
    • Understand the science behind human motivation and behavior in order to hire, develop, and sustain high-performing teams.
    • Get a bird’s-eye view of your company’s place in the industry, brand yourself within your organization, and discover opportunities to drive change.