The Hands-Off Manager in Greater China

My uncle, Duane Black, and his co-author, success coach Steve Chandler, released a book in March 2007 entitled The Hands-Off Manager: How to Mentor People and Allow Them to be Successful. My uncle sent me a copy of the book in early April, and I read through it immediately. The book is only 207 pages long, but packed with life-changing wisdom.

Yeah, I know. “Packed with life-changing wisdom” sounds like a trite sales pitch. Well, beginning in late April, in one of my presentation skills courses at a large multinational north of Taipei, I asked the participants to prepare presentations on effective leadership. After several practice and coaching sessions, I delivered my own presentation on the same topic, mainly as a way of demonstrating effective presentation techniques. I centered my presentation around what the book teaches about leadership.

What I thought would be a half hour demonstration turned into two full sessions devoted to discussing the content of The Hands-Off Manager. I have since used material from the book in other training courses, and am now preparing proposals for leadership training courses based on the book.

The Hands-Off Manager teaches managers to lead by coaching and mentoring, rather than judging and criticizing. In the courses where I discussed the book, I ended up applying several of its concepts to relationships with suppliers, with customers, and with relatives and friends.

Managers in Taiwan are eating it up.

I’m sure that my uncle and Steve Chandler wrote this book for an American target audience, but it is interesting that groups of managers in Taiwan are so energized by its teachings. The book’s treatment of vision, its encouragement to approach relationships without judgment and to face problems with neutrality, and the advice to fit a job to person rather than try to force a person to do a job he’ll never be great at has really hit home with the people who manage the Taiwan divisions of the multinationals who are my clients.

It’s a small world after all.

The book is not totally devoid of Chinese philosophy. The section on neutrality fits very well with Taoist ideas about Yin and Yang, the two symbiotic life forces whose interaction is believed to have a major impact on health and spiritual and mental well-being.


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Filed under Books, Culture, Leadership, Personal

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