It would be easy to overlook Better Managers Do Better Business. Without the help of an author biography on the back cover, readers may turn away because they have no idea what credentials Orrie Baragwanath holds. In fact, a Google search shows that Baragwanath is a lecturer, business owner and management consultant based in South Africa who has been around for three decades. His book is a response to a request from his son, Kerry John, who has a master’s degree in business management and obviously wanted to learn from his father.
To ignore Better Managers Do Better Business would be a shame, as it is clear and well-organized, with many practical checklists and nuggets of advice for managers or would-be managers. Each chapter begins with a letter from the author to Kerry John about a particular aspect of management. Despite the unusual format, readers can easily locate a specific topic or concept in the Table of Contents, which proves extremely useful.
The first of two sections discusses the various kinds of managers – dubbed “Assertive, Controllers,” “Punitive Controllers,” “Oh Shame Types” and “Share Types.” While the first three represent various permutations of inept and less effective managers, the “Share Type” signifies the gold standard to which readers can aspire. As the author often points out, someone can be a wonderful person but an ineffective manager; it’s important to recognize the difference, especially in business.
The book’s second part provides helpful, detailed information on such areas as delegation, participative management, and motivation. A test at the end allows readers to evaluate their own management styles.
Although the narrative is sometimes overwritten – many lengthy anecdotes may lose reader interest after the first paragraph or so, and the author spends far too much time defining management types – this tome is worth a place on a manager’s shelf. And those new to or learning about management would do well to give it more than a passing glance.