Flex

Flex

The New Playbook for Managing Across Differences

Book - 2014
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Offer lessons on the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively lead people who are different from you.
Publisher: New York, NY : HarperBusiness, [2014]
New York, NY : HarperBusiness, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: 2014
ISBN: 9780062248527
0062248529
Branch Call Number: 658.3 HYU
Characteristics: xxvii, 303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Miller, Leslie
Lee, Audrey S.

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KRockstar10 Jul 03, 2014

Three stars is a bit of a stretch for this one, but I gave it a little extra bump because I am really not the target audience. This would be a valuable book for managers who deal with a diverse workforce, particularly in the corporate world. As a suburban librarian who currently works with 97% white women (not something we should be proud of, but there it is), I valued this book for the lessons I hope I will remember down the line, when I am in a position to change where I work or take on a management role.

The premise of the book is that to be a fluent leader, you must learn to "flex" your management skills based on who you are working with. Flexing means adapting to the different issues that may arise when dealing with the power gaps caused by gender, culture, race, communication style, and age. For example, workers coming over from China are going to have very different ideas about authority and respect than workers raised in the US, and these differences may cause a schism between management and the worker. Flexing involves being open and honest about these differences, and both parties being willing to meet each other halfway and come to a solution that everyone is comfortable with. According to the authors, the standard trope in American business right now is to pretend that differences don't exist--we embrace diversity by trying to make it invisible. Instead, we should be talking about our differences to improve the way we all work together.

There's certainly a lot to take away from this book. However, it was difficult for me to connect to these stories of fluent leaders who flex out to their diverse staff, because so many of them work in large businesses, with global divisions, etc. I would like to have seen a small business owner, or someone who isn't dealing with a large workforce but must still flex across barriers. There was a teacher mentioned, which I thought was a nice addition.

Overall, a useful text but not a stellar one.

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