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Turnaround Manager, Gary Sheard is not hired to pull his punches when he visits struggling firms and public bodies. Now, the straight-talking business expert has waged war on poor leadership with a book entitled "Awful Management".
It will strike a chord with anyone frustrated by bungling bosses, complacent companies or those well-meaning managers who are simply trapped by a long-established but outdated way of working.
By holding up a stark mirror to 'awful managers', with real-life examples of bad practice, the author undresses the ineffective methods that strangle progress, before revealing techniques for improvement; keeping everyone in the business focused on the common goals of: personal and organisational development.
Sheard's approach could be described as 'grass roots', although the crop that actually inspired him was the humble pea.
Aged eight and working for the first time as a pea-picker in Yorkshire in the 1960s, Sheard suffered the effects of Awful Management when, left without instruction, he found he didn't know what to do, how to do it, or what was expected of him
Welcome allies in the shape of two teenage uncles later joined the pea-pulling team. Not only did they show him the ropes, but they also set the young Sheard thinking. By watching and noting, he learned to identify and understand the very basics of managing people and teams – consequently – develop personally and do a better job for the local farmer.
It was an experience that not only drove Sheard to be promoted quickly to a position of responsibility in the pea harvesting operation, but also went on to shape a successful career that took him from the shop floor as a trainee metallurgical technician, to the Boardroom, as chairman of a PLC.
Now managing director of Sheard European Management Consultants Limited, his book is "dedicated to the billions of employees currently working within Awful Management regimes" and students about to embark on their careers.
Sheard draws upon four decades of experience to share a series of engaging and entertaining anecdotes as examples of Awful Management. The tales show how Awful Management has created business obstacles or even failure, and demonstrate how fresh thinking and better communication between management and employees can bring about harmonious working conditions, job satisfaction and greater profitability.
Sheard also declares that the book's mission is: "… to improve the performance of all individuals within an organization, and therefore improve the performance of the organization itself. The aim is to assist employees, managers, directors, shareholders, unions, and governments – to bring about the death of 'Awful Management'.
Witty, interesting, thought provoking, challenging and inspiring, I don't think I can ever recall a read that was as engaging and light-hearted whilst providing such a rich resource of profound and practical advice. I genuinely believe it has the potential to become a new leader in its genre.
Andy Cawley, MD Bluestorm Design & Marketing