Practical Ways to Manage Yourself
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Practical Ways to Manage Yourself

Modern Management Made Easy, Book 1

About the Book

How can you be the best manager you can be?

If you've never seen excellent management, you might not know what "best" looks like—and that's a problem. You are not alone.

Modern management requires we first manage ourselves—and that might be the most challenging part of management. Based on research, backed up by personal stories, you'll see examples of unwise and excellent management. You can then choose from several options to improve your management results.

Through questions, stories, and proven options, learn how you can:

  • Use the seven principles of modern management to create an environment where everyone can thrive.
  • Recognize and avoid micromanagement.
  • Support the people doing the work to solve more of their problems.
  • Make time to think so you can be your best self.
  • Trust the people you lead and serve.
  • And, much more.

With its question and myth, each chapter offers you options to rethink how you manage yourself.

You'll see earn how common—but ill-advised—management practices prevent you from enabling the people you lead and serve.

Become a modern manager. Learn to manage yourself so you and the people you lead and serve can deliver the results everyone needs.

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  • Categories

    • Agile
    • Management
    • Leadership
    • Engineering Management
    • Agile Enterprise
    • Teamwork
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About the Author

Johanna Rothman
Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” offers frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams do reasonable things that work. Equipped with that knowledge, they can then decide how to adapt their product development.

With her trademark practicality and humor, Johanna is the author of 20 books and hundreds of articles. Find the Pragmatic Manager, a monthly email newsletter, and her blogs at and

She is the author of these books:

In addition, she is a contributor to:

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Table of Contents

  • Praise Quotes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Management Starts with Managing Yourself
    • 1.1 Discover Your Management Balance with Congruence
    • 1.2 Manage With Value-Based Integrity
    • 1.3 Self-Esteem Builds Empathy and Respect for Yourself
    • 1.4 Managers Serve and Lead Others
    • 1.5 Managers Manage the System
    • 1.6 Consider These Principles for Managing Yourself
    • 1.7 Build Your Management Excellence
  • 2. How Valuable Are Managers?
    • 2.1 Myth: I Am More Valuable than Other People
    • 2.2 Middle Managers Have a Difficult Balancing Act
    • 2.3 Great Management Is Servant Leadership
    • 2.4 Assess the Cost of Your Decisions or the Cost of Change
    • 2.5 Consider the Value You Offer
  • 3. Are You the One to Solve This Problem?
    • 3.1 Myth: I Must Solve the Team’s Problem for Them
    • 3.2 Managers Want to Be Helpful
    • 3.3 Encourage the People Who See the Problems to Solve Them
    • 3.4 Managers Can Help Unstick Problem-Solving
    • 3.5 Let the Team Solve Its Own Problems
    • 3.6 Options to Avoid Inflicting Help
  • 4. Does Your Team Need You So They Can Work?
    • 4.1 Myth: I Am Too Valuable to Take a Vacation
    • 4.2 “Please Stay in Touch While You Are Gone”
    • 4.3 Do You Feel Indispensable?
    • 4.4 Prepare to Delegate
    • 4.5 Consider What You Can Delegate
    • 4.6 Support Your Team’s Decisions
    • 4.7 Avoid Anyone Second Guessing Your Team’s Decisions
    • 4.8 Identify Your Delegation Boundaries
    • 4.9 Options to Start Delegation
    • 4.10 Take a Vacation
  • 5. Can You Be Effective as a Player-Coach?
    • 5.1 Myth: I Can Still Do Significant Technical Work
    • 5.2 Do You Still Understand the Details?
    • 5.3 Know What You Can Do
    • 5.4 Consider the Role of a Technical Manager
    • 5.5 Create an Environment Where People Can Solve Problems
    • 5.6 Can You Contribute Technically?
    • 5.7 Where Does Management Time Go?
    • 5.8 But, My Manager Expects Me to Do Both
    • 5.9 Frustrated by Management Work?
    • 5.10 What If You Love Technical Work?
    • 5.11 Options to Move from Player-Coach to Manager
  • 6. Can You Trust Your Estimation Gut?
    • 6.1 Myth: I Know How Long the Work Should Take
    • 6.2 How Long Will the Work Take?
    • 6.3 Do You Still Know What to Do?
    • 6.4 What Does the Manager Want?
    • 6.5 Options for When You Don’t Like the Estimate
  • 7. When Do You Ask, “Are You Done Yet?”
    • 7.1 Myth: It’s Fine if I Micromanage
    • 7.2 Learn How to Delegate
    • 7.3 Clarify Which Information You Need When
    • 7.4 Offer Feedback to Managers
    • 7.5 Recognize Your Micromanagement
    • 7.6 Options to Stop Micromanagement
  • 8. Does the Team Need Motivation?
    • 8.1 Myth: The Team Needs a Cheerleader!
    • 8.2 Intrinsic Motivation Is What Counts
    • 8.3 Use Purpose to Solve Problems
    • 8.4 Transparency Helps Everyone
    • 8.5 Cheerleading Denies Everyone Courage
    • 8.6 Options to Encourage and Create Real Motivation
  • 9. Are You Allowed to Make Mistakes?
    • 9.1 My Very Bad-Manager Day
    • 9.2 Myth: I Must Never Admit My Mistakes
    • 9.3 Managers Make Mistakes
    • 9.4 A Manager’s Mistakes Cascade
    • 9.5 Managers Can Rebuild Trust
    • 9.6 Wrong Decisions Happen
    • 9.7 Ask for Help
    • 9.8 Options to Make Safe Mistakes
  • 10. When Do You Take Time to Think?
    • 10.1 Myth: I Can Concentrate on the Run
    • 10.2 When Do You Make Time to Concentrate?
    • 10.3 When Do You Decide?
    • 10.4 How Do You Concentrate?
    • 10.5 Create a Structured Meeting
    • 10.6 Sitting Might Not Be the Answer
    • 10.7 Options to Make Time to Think
  • 11. Are Problems Bad?
    • 11.1 Myth: I Must Always Have a Solution to the Problem
    • 11.2 Manager Rules Prevent Easy Problem-Solving
    • 11.3 Transform Your Manager Rules to Guides
    • 11.4 Rules About Problems Won’t Make the Problems Vanish
    • 11.5 Acknowledge Your Feelings
    • 11.6 Problems Might Be Possibilities
    • 11.7 Options to Consider Problems as Possibilities
  • 12. How Much Do You Trust the People You Serve?
    • 12.1 Myth: You’re Empowered Because I Said So
    • 12.2 What Does Empowerment Mean?
    • 12.3 Clarify Boundaries
    • 12.4 Telling Isn’t the Same as Being
    • 12.5 Options to Extend Trust
  • 13. What Does “Indispensable” Mean?
    • 13.1 Myth: You Believe in Indispensable Employees
    • 13.2 Indispensable Employees Create Bottlenecks
    • 13.3 What Do You Do with Indispensable Employees?
    • 13.4 Consider the Growth Mindset
    • 13.5 Avoid the Scarcity Thinking Trap
    • 13.6 Origins Of This Thinking
    • 13.7 Options to Stop Relying on Indispensable or 10X Employees
  • 14. How Can I Do All of This Alone?
    • 14.1 Myth: Good Managers Don’t Need One-on-Ones
    • 14.2 Create Opportunities to See More of the System
    • 14.3 Address Your Management Challenges
    • 14.4 Build Trust Both Ways
    • 14.5 Options to Create Regular One-on-Ones with Your Manager
  • 15. Where Will You Start Managing Yourself?
    • 15.1 Measure Your Cycle Time
    • 15.2 Assess Your Behavior Now
    • 15.3 Change Behaviors Before Beliefs
    • 15.4 Why Do People Not Know About These Ideas?
    • 15.5 You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • More from Johanna
  • Notes

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