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Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around Paperback – February 26, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey America (February 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885619
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885613
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


When I made the leap into a senior leadership position at a small software company and was suddenly in charge, Roberta's guidance and insight was instrumental. (Rose Eastman, Senior Director, Technical Program Management, Former VP of Operations, Enterprise Knowledge Systems)

Where was this book when I started managing people? Whether it is talent selection, leadership communication, performance problems or helping your boss prosper, Suddenly in Charge is the quintessential guidebook for succeeding in the maddening-albeit fulfilling-world of management. (Joseph Michelli, PhD, bestselling author of The Starbucks Experience, The New Gold Standard, and When Fish Fly)

When both time and money are scarce, Suddenly in Charge is a must-have for all new supervisors or managers. Matuson's experience working in the trenches is evident and the book is written in a straightforward, understandable, and authentic manner. Oh, how wish I had this book many years ago when I moved from an individual contributor role into a management position! (Patricia Hunt Sinacole, Job Doc, Boston Globe and CEO and Founder, First Beacon Group LLC)

Being thrown into a new manager's role can be a lot like an ice water bath—shocking and exhilaration all at the same time! Roberta Matuson takes what can be a daunting experience and creates a step-by-step guide for new managers. Her insight, practical tips, and real-life scenarios make this book a critical read for any new manager. Suddenly in Charge proves that you don't have to learn everything the hard way! (Jay B. Hargis, Director of Learning and Development, Tufts Medical Center and adjunct professor of Human Resources at Suffolk University)

Suddenly in Charge is a must-read playbook for the new manager. Delivered in a unique and creative way, Roberta Matuson equips the new manager with practical tools and examples that set their course for success in all directions. (Barbara Callan-Bogia, Vice President, Organization Development & North American Retail Human Resources, Office DEPOT)

About the Author

Roberta Chinsky Matuson found herself thrown into management at age 24. By her own wits-and through trial and error-she succeeded and became an internationally recognized thought-leader, consultant and career expert, often quoted in the media.

More About the Author

For more than twenty-five years, Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies and small to medium-size businesses achieve dramatic growth and market leadership. As a seasoned consultant with industry experience, Roberta is considered a leading authority on talent maximization, leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty. She is known globally as "The Talent Maximizer." Roberta was recently inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant® Hall of Fame. She is one of a handful of international consultants to receive this honor.

As a former executive, Roberta has the vantage point of understanding what it is like to work at all levels of the organization. At the age of twenty-four years old, she found herself catapulted into the executive suite, where she was responsible for building a world-class HR department for a commercial real estate firm. Shortly thereafter, Roberta was involved in taking the company through a public offering.

By her own wits--and through trial and error--Roberta has built on her success and has become an internationally recognized thought-leader and consultant, often appearing on television on programs such as CBS's The Early Show, Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, Fox Business News and CNN's Quest Means Business with Richard Quest. She is frequently invited to be a guest on radio shows across America.

Roberta is the author of the forthcoming, Magnetic Workplace (Nicholas Brealey, 2013) and the highly acclaimed book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders. She is a prolific writer who has published over 300 articles worldwide. Roberta is frequently quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and She is a regular contributor to Monster, BNET, Pink Magazine, Yahoo! HotJobs and and is one of the top expert bloggers for Fast Company. Roberta also writes a column for

An engaging speaker, Roberta is sought-after by companies and organizations looking to inspire people into action. She is known for her ability to capture the attention of audience members with her original, provocative and interactive sessions.

Roberta has worked with many world-class organizations including Best Buy, Inc., Boston Beer Company, and New Balance. Her client list includes high growth companies, such as Memsic and Six Red Marbles, as well as federal government agencies, associations and individuals.

Learn more about Roberta by visiting

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I started reading the book this morning while having breakfast (the managing up side).
Miguel A. Rodriguez
The book is easy to read and comprehend and gives tangible advice that can be implemented at the pace of the reader.
Leonardo McClarty
"Suddenly in Charge" will get you pointed in the right direction, whether it's up or down.
Gretchen Neels

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Martin on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Suddenly in Charge is billed on the cover as "The New Manager's All-in-One Guide to Shine from Day One," and it does not disappoint. First-time author and consultant Roberta Matuson has written the bible for all those employees who get thrust into management positions without all the necessary preparation, and in some cases without much support from their superiors and organizations. In many cases these people have received little or no training or development to do the difficult job of leading others.

I served for over 25 years in the Canadian Army. Before I "got the keys to the car" as a young officer, I had to undergo a grueling yearlong course in leadership, decision-making, planning, and management. After that, during my first leadership opportunity as a 23-year-old platoon commander, I was surrounded by mentors and had the support of my team of NCOs.

Unfortunately, most organizations provide nowhere near the same level of training and support to first-time managers and subordinates. This book, though, goes a long way to providing detailed guidance and advice to new managers. Although the book is subtitled Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, it is really about the nitty-gritty of day-to-day leadership in the organizational trenches.

I was particularly impressed by the author's organization of the book into two distinct sections. The first part of the book deals with the delicate art of "managing up." In this section there are chapters on, among other things, adapting to your boss's management style, navigating the storm-tossed seas of office politics, and dealing with a bad boss. Needless to say, these are topics that are not often covered in books about managing and leading. However, they are a reality in all organizations.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Finger on December 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a great guide with practical tips that will benefit any employee, regardless of their level in the organization. There are lots of resources out there on how to be an effective supervisor/manager, but this book is unique in that it offers two perspectives in one book - managing up and managing down. This book has easy to implement guidance on both topics. It's a great resource!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Martha LaCroix on September 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Roberta Matuson's book is very sound advice for the new manager, covering many different types of situations. In addition, it is a great reminder for more seasoned managers, no matter what level in the organization they are. Matuson's writing style is direct (she does not mince words)and the advice she offers is practical, applicable and relevant to any workplace. While some business books are over-bearing, long-winded and hard to get through, Matuson's book is candid and easily read. A great tool for any manager's or mentor's toolbox!
Martha LaCroix, EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer, The Yankee Candle Company
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Citrin on September 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
As an organizational psychologist and executive coach, I am always scouring Amazon for resources I can use with my clients to help them grapple with the complexities of leadership. Most of the material I find is a bit too theoretical and focuses on a small aspect of how to help both young and new leaders along with the those who have been in leadership roles but may need a fresh perspective.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson's clever book, Suddenly in Charge provides many of the important elements of down to earth leadership skills that my clients can benefit from obtaining for themselves. Having a book that so interestingly covers the important aspects of Managing Up and Managing Down in one easy to read publication makes it worth twice the cost.

I am so glad that Roberta included the importance of Managing UP as a key aspect of management. This aspect of leadership is often degraded and put down as "brown nosing" but Matuson identifies the critical aspects of this role as it relates to creating a personally successful career along with the building a strong organization.

For example, understanding that there is really is a "decoder ring" of understanding what is important to your boss means that building a two way relationship will help you thrive and the company grow. Furthermore growing up and learning how to deal with the politics of business is essential for any manager and leader. Remembering to focus on your professional growth and development also frames many important topics in this section.

I found so much useful information in the Managing UP section, that I actually had low expectations for the managing down section of the Suddenly in Charge but Roberta surprised me when I read Managing DOWN.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RENEE ROSSI on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I was truly impressed with "Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around". Roberta Chinsky Matuson's book delivers an overview of the varied employee and employer relationships. She gives advice on how to handle touchy situations with grace. I was happy to see the inclusion of real life experiences which showed how the concepts addressed in the book could be applied in multiple business settings. Matuson is insightful and clear in presenting the important qualities that make a manager unforgettable as well as a solid leader. Every manager who wishes to be influential should have this book within reach. I recommend this book highly to those who are interested in understanding the dynamics of their work environment. "Suddenly in Charge" distills the truths in the fields of leadership and management and presents them in an easy-to-read style that is pleasing and concise.
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