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First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals Paperback – April 4, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
FIRST AMONG EQUALS was written to fill a large need in most modern organizations. Its premise is how to manage a group and lead them to peak performance without possessing formal authority. Today, it is common to be leader of a group of individuals without possessing any real power or authority over the embers of the group. Wise leaders also know that even if they do have formal authority over others, the high performance leader doesn't act like they do. Instead, the way to get the most out of the individuals we serve with is to be primus inter pares, the first among equals. The authors then boldly take you step by step through an enlightened process of how to interact with and manage groups as an individual group leader. McKenna & Maister state in the introduction that, This is a book about "doing." It is not concerned primarily with theories, concepts, or insights. It's a book we wish we had read when we were first given the challenge of leading a group!" This is achieved by providing frank observations, stirring questions, and wise advice from two respected consultants. FIRST AMONG EQUALS is also replete with quizzes, sidebars and checklists to enhance your personal growth as a group leader.
Part one of the book deals with the issue of how to prepare or "get ready" for your role as a group leader.Read more ›
The book looks at the leader/manager/coach of a disparate group of professionals, assuming a mix of seniors & juniors.
I think the book isn't just for the leader/manager/coach - because in many such groups today, there can be rotation (time-based or task-based) where any of the group of professionals might be called upon to perform the leadership / coaching / mentoring role. So the book should be read by all members of the team. Also the leader is human - they might not be 'doing it right as per the book', and it could be useful for the others (they are all equals after all) to be informed to provide that guidance/correction.
The Sections are laid out well : getting ready; coaching the individual; coaching the team; building for the future.
It classes individuals into 4 styles : amiable, analytical, driver, expressive (I tend more towards the expressive), and how to work with each.
I also like the way it addressed underperforming members, how to correct the problem rather than try to rationalise it out of existence.
Because professionals jealously guard their autonomy, reserving the right to work as they see fit, professional groups have a greater-than-average tendency to become ill-disciplined - and thus a whole chapter is dedicate to how to run a meeting of such individuals.
I work in such a group, where there are 20 of us, probably 50:50 seniors & juniors (though we don't refer to ourselves in those terms).Read more ›
The same holds true for "First Amoung Equals". The book provides a guideline for running a practice group, building excellence in the individual and growing individuals into team members. This is one of those books where the serious student will own it by highlighting key sections, taking notes and writing in the margins. And the very serious will buy multiple copies of the book and share them with their manager, collegues and team in hopes for all to become their best!
The group leaders within a practice have to act as player-coaches. They are responsible for their own performance but also that of their peers. They must manage their peers but with limited authority. They must encourage individuals; yet somehow forge them into a cohesive team. They are expected to lead as the primus inter pares, the first among equals.
In First Among Equals, McKenna and Maister write the book they wish they had read when first given the challenge of leading a group. The first part helps the leader clarify his/her role. The second part deals with the activities required to coach, lead, inspire, and guide the individual members. The third part turns to team management. The fourth discusses building for the future: managing juniors, monitoring success and problems of size.
The book is written like a series of seminar presentations. The authors take care to tell you what they will tell you, then to tell you, and finally to tell you what they told you. They use lists, which are then unpacked and dissected in detail. Even if this style does not appeal to you, you will find the advice practical and easy to reference.
David Maister's classic, Managing the Professional Services Firm, has long been compulsory reading for senior partners in professional practices. First Among Equals should be given to each of their managers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Surprisingly helpful. Not only for professional service businesses but also for real businesses and the management of a team of senior managers. Read morePublished 7 months ago by roundy05
I am currently reading this book for a class in my Masters in Organizational Leadership program. Although the book seems to be relevant and useful, I have already become... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Shannon L. Herndon
Great book! David Maister is a brilliant man, funny, thoughtful, provocative and understands what it takes to conduct your business in a most professional manner. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Diamond Dave
This is the book I wish I would had had at my fingertips when I was first charged with leading a group of professionals. Read morePublished on February 15, 2014 by Emma Watson
Anyone who knows anything about professional service entities -- law firms, accountants, architects -- will devour First Among Equals, one of the better books ever written about... Read morePublished on February 13, 2014 by L. Smith
Maister and McKenna have , and continue to be, the best minds in helping professionals organize, strategize and maximize. This is a bible for members of our firm.Published on February 13, 2014 by Michael Anderson
Well written and well organized. Includes practical advice that is very helpful for leaders and managers in professional services firms.Published on February 13, 2014 by Neil Levine