Review :


Michael Armstrong's book has been a phenomenal success since it first appeared in 1983 as 'How to be a Better Manager'. Yep, it has grown from strength to strength with each edition selling very well with a tally of over 120,000 copies sold so far. And its success is well-deserved.

It is the book I do see at railway station bookstalls for the traveller who doesn't want something too intellectually heavy for his business journey, but wants to be well briefed before his next hairy meeting in a relaxed sort of way on the journey to the appointment.

It is four years since the sixth edition came out, and Michael Armstrong has updated this impressive work in some detail. His fifty key aspects of management have undergone extensive and necessary revision.

Armstrong has included eight new chapters dealing with how to achieve continuous improvement (so important for the zealous regulator of today), how to delight (make sure you control the jokes), how to manage risk (very important for solicitors), how to prepare customers and make a business case (the life-blood of the advocate), how to create a business plan (most important for barristers), and how to recover from setbacks (extremely important for advocates!)

Lawyers are managers and small businesses, and must have the skills outlined by Armstrong to be a success when they go up one notch to run (in other words, to manage) a case in court. and succeed. The demands made on us in today's uncertain, demanding and turbulent world are on the increase. We are all in need of professional development at all times to keep abreast of new reforms which we need to brush up on and be current, and this book gives us the tips on practical management which will be of special interest to employment lawyers.

There is a great deal of common sense in this book and it will certainly reinforce the views of many of how modern management is managed. The 50 areas covered are self-contained, falling into three areas: managing people, managing activities and processes, and your own management and development (CPD).

The Foreword says this handbook is particularly useful for NVQs, PGCEs and CIPD/human resources functions but, for the lawyer and general reader, it goes further as it helps with the profiling of people whom we meet as clients as well as those we manage in our firms or chambers.

I liked the appendix in particular with its coverage of positive or negative indicators of performance which will be great for those entering conditional fee agreements and compiling risk assessments. Also, the general bibliography gives an informative reading list which shows the knowledge Michael Armstrong has given to us with this fine statement of how management works.

The purpose of continuous personal professional development (CPPD) and current reflective practice will help business people (including lawyers) build up their managerial knowledge and skills in most current situations we face with the splendid guidelines offered. This title is the best answer to managing management today.

PHILLIP TAYLOR MBE LL.B (Hons) PGCE Barrister-at-Law.
Richmond Green Chambers.

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