Summary of The Distance Manager

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Kimball Fisher and Mareen Duncan Fisher document the special skills needed for the new but increasingly common task of managing far-flung work groups. The approaches that they examine are becoming increasingly essential for all managers. Although they explore relevant technologies carefully, their human relations advice is probably more important. The Fishers emphasize the interpersonal and leadership skills that a manager needs to head a virtual team. If you read this book cover to cover, it can seem repetitive, since many of the rules and tips offered in one area overlap with those in other areas. However, the book is designed to allow you to review specific management challenges and technologies, and to ignore areas that are irrelevant to your situation. getAbstract recommends this clear, practical work to anyone who leads virtual teams and to the telecommuters and freelance workers who report to them.

About the Authors

Kimball Fisher and Mareen Duncan Fisher , co-founders of The Fisher Group, have worked with many Fortune 100 companies to implement high-performance management systems and to train managers. Their consulting clients include Amoco, Apple Computer, PepsiCo, NBC, Weyerhauser and Motorola. They are popular speakers about teams, leadership and organization design. Kimball Fisher is author of Leading Self-Directed Work Teams and co-author of Tips for Teams.



Managing a Far-flung Team

More and more managers today are distance managers, asked to lead people who usually do not work in the same place at the same time. The advantages of these virtual teams come packaged with enormous managerial challenges. Technologies - such as e-mail, teleconferencing and file sharing - can help a distance manager communicate, coordinate and coach more effectively. But technology alone is not enough. Some tasks can only be done effectively in face-to-face meetings. Clearly, to succeed as a distance manager, you’ll need new competencies and some additional tools for managing people who aren’t close at hand.

Distance Managing: Foundation Principles

Distance managers aren’t supervisors; it’s impossible to supervise a far-flung group. Instead, they are boundary managers. They focus on the ways their work group interacts with its environment. They teach their team members the skills they need to turn information from their individual environments into the output the company expects. Instead of managing that process, distance managers focus on interfacing with other teams, interacting with customers and vendors, and assessing competitors...

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