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First, Break All the Rules

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First, Break All the Rules

What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

Simon & Schuster,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The best managers know how to bring out the best in their employees.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman present the results of two major studies. One offers findings from polling more than a million employees about their workplace needs. The other is a 20-year study of how the methods of the world’s greatest managers differ from those of lesser managers. This study involved interviews with more than 80,000 managers from 400 companies, the largest such investigation ever undertaken. The authors found key differences that fly in the face of traditional thinking about successful managerial practices. This astute, well-written report presents the major principles of great managers, and offers examples of leaders who put their knowledge of effective management into practice. The book’s conclusions rest on in-depth research, not theory. This painstaking study authoritatively describes how employees feel about management and explains exactly what great managers do, and why and how they achieve top results. getAbstract recommends it to everyone who manages, wants to manage or is managed.


Great Managers and Other Managers

Managers can gain many practical lessons, methods, tactics and strategies from data gathered in two large-scale studies of management-employee interaction conducted over a 25-year period by the Gallup Organization.

One study interviewed more than a million employees from different sorts of companies and industries to find out what the most talented of them want from their workplaces. The major finding stated, “Talented employees need great managers.” Great managers inspire good people to stay with a company. Even if a company offers inspiring leadership, solid benefits and perks, good pay and worthwhile training programs, employees base their tenure on their relationship with their direct supervisor.

The second study used various measurements of corporate success to identify the best managers. The study examined how great managers discover, hire, direct and retain talented employees. The metrics of achievement for this study included sales volume, profit, customer satisfaction scores, employee turnover levels and productivity.

Managers play an important role in the life of their direct reports. Managers “define and pervade...

About the Authors

Marcus Buckingham is a senior lecturer in Gallup’s Leadership Institute and Curt Coffman is the global practice leader for the Gallup Organization’s Workplace Management Practice.

Comment on this summary

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    M. H. 2 years ago
    "You can’t teach talent or attitude, so hire for talent and train for skills". Thank You Very much!
  • Avatar
    D. E. 3 years ago
    Sometimes it is best to let someone go, but more often it is better to develop a person to be the best they can be and forgo the expense of turnover.
  • Avatar
    C. W. 3 years ago
    Not just getting people on the bus, but making sure those people are in the right seat on the bus