August 11, 2002

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The 2R Manager

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:42 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The 2R Manager: When to Relate, When to Require, and How to Do Both Effectively, Peter E. Friedes, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 200 Pages, $19.95 Paperback, July 2002, ISBN 078795893X
The innumerable books written about management range from 1st grade level primers to 467 ways to better management guides to the driest of theoretical compositions. When I got my copy of The 2R Manager and read the subtitle, I was pleasantly surprised to have found a book on management that resonated with my life experience. The premise of the book is that the 2 key approaches to managing are to Relate and to Require (hence the 2Rs). The better you balance these two approaches the better a manager you are. I went into this book knowing that I was a relater, perhaps to a fault. Boy, was I wrong. As a result of this book, my eyes were opened to the fact that how I regarded my management style was not how my staff regarded me as a manager
Early in the book, the author offers a forty-question which reveals how you catagorize yourself as either a relater or requirer. I sat down, took the test and came up with numbers that supported my initial thoughts on my management style. Then, the author offers a twelve-question survey to be given to the folks who report to you. Well, guess who was delusional? Yup, here I thought I was the brilliantly caring manager and that I did a poor job demanding anything of my employees. Nope, turns out that in my employees eyes, I have real relational issues that I need to work on, but that they accept most wholeheartedly the requirements I place on them. The rest of the book gives very specific guidelines to help you balance your styles.
This is not a book on the theory of management. It is about becoming a better manager. And, the author is not some ivory tower academic. Friedes is the former CEO of Hewitt Associates, where, during his twenty-three year tenure, the company grew over twenty percent per year. So the guy knows from where he speaks. I thought so much of this book that I have bought two copies to give to friends. Buy it and learn.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.