Summary of Bedtime Stories for Managers

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Bedtime Stories for Managers book summary

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Compiling his most pithy and vehement blog posts, Henry Mintzberg – professor of management studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management at Montreal’s McGill University – warns you “not to be outraged by anything you read because some of my most outrageous ideas turn out to be my best.” Using similes such as “boards as bees,” Mintzberg buzzes among topics, sometimes ranting, sometimes imparting his wisdom as a management authority. His subjects include using metrics responsibly, educating managers and building your company without selling your soul. 

About the Author

Henry Mintzberg is professor of management studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. His books include Managing the Myths of Health Care: Bridging the Separations between Care, Cure, Control and Community and Simply Managing: What Managers Do – and Can Do Better.


Managers need to step down from the podium and into the orchestra.

Commentators often compare leaders and managers to orchestra conductors. That provides the illusion that leaders are in control. But managers and their teams are all players. Managers need to step down from the podium and into the orchestra. An engaged manager:

  1. Helps other employees be important.
  2. Works across networks instead of sitting atop a hierarchy.
  3. Fosters strategies that grow organically from engaged employees.
  4. Focuses on good judgment based on the proper context.
  5. Earns respect instead of expecting it for being in charge.

Managing is a hectic, demanding job. Managers are people and have flaws. Instead of hiring “soulless” managers who “kiss up and kick down,” CEOs should hire or promote managers based on how they treat their people. Good managers don’t focus on the bottom line or make a plan for every action. They don’t move people around, thinking that will solve internal problems. They treat staff members with respect. They don’t rely on email alone to communicate. Instead, they engage with their people...

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