Business books often focus on how to make money, climb the proverbial ladder, or motivate employees with the carrot-dangling prospect of perks and promotions. How refreshing it is to find a guide that gives priority to the human side of the equation and stresses the importance of compassion in the workplace. Don’t Just Manage, Lead! is that kind of gem.
Using stories that illustrate the skills of inspiring leaders, author and global call center executive Arthur F. Coombs III introduces readers to the benefits of leading versus managing and explains the difference. In the first pages, he shares his challenges with dyslexia, showing a vulnerability that immediately endears readers to him. He also establishes a premise that permeates the book: that true leaders are caring, not tyrannical.
The stories, both his and those culled from history, are delightful. Each is told with great detail, dialogue and flair that imparts a core concept of leadership, such as pausing before jumping to conclusions and creating a positive workplace. Recounting how a boss forgave him instead of firing him after he made a mistake that cost the company a half-million dollars, for example, Coombs vividly recalls what his mentor said to him that day: “If anyone will not make that mistake again, it will be you.” At another point, the author relates asking a group of employees who constantly complained about each other to write down ten things they liked about the person to their left and share their thoughts aloud, which led to significant healing of longtime rifts.
A minor downside of Don’t Just Manage, Lead! is the lack of a Table of Contents to corral the six long chapters. That doesn’t stop this warmly-written, accessible book from claiming its rightful place on one’s go-to shelf. Coombs comes across as a true servant leader from whom we can all learn a great deal.
Also available in hardcover, ebook and audio book.