Confident managers create successful work environments. This is the philosophy of management consultant, motivational speaker, and author Janet Kirch. Creating confident managers is the goal of her easy-to-read handbook, Lead with Passion: It’s All about the Journey.
In twenty-six short, focused chapters, Kirch covers issues any first-time manager might encounter. Experienced managers will also benefit from the author’s examples of typical workplace situations.
Telling stories of her own experiences as a first-time manager, Kirch gains her readers’ trust because she’s been in their shoes. She tells her story of failure, and then success, as she stumbled through the first months of management, having been promoted into the position because she was an effective employee but receiving no guidance on how to be an effective manager. Even after many years of success as a manager, business owner, and motivational speaker, she continues to make mistakes and learn from them, and she’s not afraid or too proud to share her ups and downs with the reader. It’s her own stories that make this book so effective.
The chapter titles are descriptive so it is easy for the reader to pick and choose subjects of interest. Two appendices list typical questions managers have in dealing with their employees or their boss and refer the reader back to specific chapters for material on how to handle a particular situation.
One of Kirch’s recurring themes is leading by example. She encourages managers to be willing to do the work expected of subordinates and cautions on the right way to approach this so as not to alienate anyone.
Kirch offers steps to take and phrases to use for better communication with employees and customers. She briefly discusses learning styles and generational differences and their impact on the workplace. She covers effective hiring practices, providing feedback for positive reinforcement and work improvement as well as the need for termination. She makes good use of scenarios to demonstrate problem solving and decision making.
While the majority of the book is focused on managers working with employees, Kirch devotes a chapter to how managers can work effectively with their bosses and gain feedback on their performance from employees.
Kirch often mentions other books on management and references several of the well-known behavioral management theorists. However, it would have been helpful to have a bibliography of her recommended books, especially since she encourages managers to establish their own management library just as she was encouraged by one of her mentors.
Janet Kirch is a sought-after management and motivational speaker. In her work and writing, she draws on her twenty-five years of experience in the transportation and travel industries and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human resource management.
Just as she succeeded in developing her own confident management skills, Kirch succeeds in writing a book that will build confidence in any manager.