The Essential Manager’s Handbook – review

The Essential Manager’s Handbook: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Successful Management
Published by DK/Penguin Random House, 2016; 463 pages

Really liked this book as a good jumping off point to learn about Management and Leadership. It is very well laid out, and the visual nature of the book – with bright colors, dialog boxes, and assorted graphics -added a lot of the ease of comprehension of the material, and kept it interesting enough that even the not-so-engrossing aspects were interesting enough to keep my focus.

The book itself is broken in to several sections:

  • Managing People
  • Leadership
  • Achieving High Performance
  • Effective Communication
  • Presenting
  • Negotiating

Each section is broken into chapters to focus on the overall topic. There are quizzes and self-checks throughout the book to help you determine where your own competencies are, and the chapters provide actionable ideas that you can begin using immediately.

Unsurprisingly, the first part of the book is on knowing yourself.  It advocates keeping a journal and doing various assessments (360 feedback, measures of emotional intelligence, etc.) to determine where your leadership and management skills actually are – and then using the information in the book – and others it references, in order to improve those skills.

I could quite literally fill this with gems of information and knowledge that I gleaned from my reading, but that would make this unduly cumbersome.  I will note that a lot of the knowledge gained I will be using in an upcoming class on being a Seneschal.

The bottom line is that I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are new to the idea of leadership and/or management.

So, how did all this start anyway?

Facebook is a great social media site for a lot of reasons, and it also has its own failings.  This, however, is a post about how it accidently was a catalyst for a big project that has the potential to improve the lives and SCA experience of a whole Kingdom.

Facebook recently reminded me of a post that I made on September 16, 2018 about wanting to know what my next class I teach should be. One of the comments on that was from Baroness Kelda about us co-teaching a class.  I sent her a message and we cooked up a class for Fall Academy from “Two Helium Handed Baronesses”.

The class went really well, and ideas started to roll for us to expand to a full track of classes about service in the SCA.  This was actually done at College of Three Ravens on February 23, 2019 with Kelda, myself, and Baroness Ekaterina being the main instigators. The response from this was astounding and left all three of us – and many of the other teachers and roundtable participants – shocked.  This was something that people really saw value in, and that was when the work really kicked off.  We started to assemble a team of people and AE Leads was created.

AELeads is an effort to create an informed, engaged, and positive volunteer experience and community within the Kingdom of AEthelmearc. Our tag line is “developing community, confidence, and leadership.” This endeavor is powered by the belief we can integrate volunteer management tools and leadership best practices into our Kingdom culture to provide each of us – because everyone in our organization is a volunteer – with the tools and practices we need to ensure our Kingdom is welcoming, inclusive, and well-run – plus, a fun place to be.

It is now just past a year from that first Facebook post asking for class ideas and we have grown. We are looking at ways to make things more accessible for members of the SCA, to provide office specific training and mentoring, as well as general leadership and management skills. We still have a ways to go, and we invite you to help us.

Classes at Pennsic to share

July 31, 9:00 AM (1 hr) in A&S 7:
A Time and a Place: Non-traditional Service
Baroness Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon, OL
Not everyone has the time, ability or desire to take on the role of officer, key event staff or special project coordinator. Come and participate in a discussion of new and different ways to volunteer or how to use the time and talents of those who want to be of assistance but can’t in more traditional ways.

July 31, 4:00 PM (1 hr) in RS1:
Volunteering and You
Lady Mairi of Kilravock
Are you suffering from Helium-Hand Syndrome? Want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? Worried about burning yourself out? Look no further! This class covers the Hows and Whys, the advantages, pitfalls and rewards of volunteering, without sacrificing your health along the way.\

August 1, 11:00 AM (1 hour) in A&S 14:
Event Finances: Before, During and After
Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann
From budget to gate to the event report. A discussion of event finances, based on Chapter 7 of the Exchequer’s Handbook.

August 1, 2:00 PM (1.5 hours) in A&S 7:
Equity and Inclusion 101: DEI in the SCA
Mistress Giata Magdalena Alberti
Learn the terminology of applied courtesy, build skills to promote SCA Core Values, and practice interrupting bias to ensure chivalric virtue in our organization.

August 2, 10:00 AM (1 hour) in A&S 12:
Youth and Family Involvement in the SCA
Lady Artemisia Voltera
Learn about ways to encourage family and youth participation at meetings and events and why it is important to the SCA. How to encourage family participation at meetings; ways to incorporate youth activities at your events. Why are youth important in the SCA? How does it help our Society to have youth involved? Kingdom youth education programs? Challenges and successes.

August 2, 12:00 PM (1 hour) in A&S 3:
Reinventing the Wheel
Duchess Melisande de Belvoir
Why do we do things in the SCA the way we do them, and how could we do them differently? How can we stress the “Creative” part of our name in the structure and planning of our events? Come prepared for active discussion and brainstorming!

August 2, 1:00 PM (1 hour) in A&S 7:
Equity and Inclusion 102: Honoring SCA Core Values
Mistress Giata Magdalena Alberti
Learn policy implementation for addressing inequity and exclusion, review the responsibilities of officers and participants, and develop skills to promote SCA Core Values.

August 2, 1:00 PM (1 hour) in A&S 12:
Reviving Your Local Group
Lady Artemisia Voltera
Come and learn ways to revive your SCA group to become a thriving community. Learn different tips and tricks to bring new life to your local group.

August 4, 11:00 AM (1 hour) in A&S 12:
Sharing the Magic Outside of the SCA
Mistress Katherine von Schlosserwald
It’s a dream come true to be a Living History Presenter. But how do you begin? What are the legal and procedural concerns? “I can get paid for this?” How do you command attention in a classroom? In a gymnasium? At a “Fair?” I’ll share my experiences as a paid Living History Presenter and answer questions you may have about the expectations of educators and audience.