The one-sentence summary

It is possible to be highly effective at work if you can master objective self-awareness and handle people deftly


· This is an admirably short handbook about how to thrive at work.

· It covers how to assess your own skills, and how to develop helpful people skills when interacting with others.

· There are 3 main personal areas:

1. How did you get to here? Success stories, obstacles you have overcome, mapping out your progress so far.

2. Where are you now? Skills and capabilities, psychometrics, taking feedback.

3. Where do you want to be? Establishing your own values, looking at the long term, and setting short-term goals.

· Then come the people skills:

1. Communicate for clarity. Use email wisely, become known for great meetings.

2. Focus on the right things. Analyse your time, create a ‘NOT to do’ list

3. Delegate to develop people. Do it elegantly, preparing well, delegating appropriately without dumping stuff on people.

4. Tell people how they are doing. Appraisals are not enough, balance praising and building

5. Bring out the best in your team. Work on the team, not in it, and set a clear and inspiring direction.

6. Manage upwards to survive and thrive. Work out who’s who round here and what makes them tick, handle your boss smartly, and develop your senior network.

7. Face up to conflict and deal with it. Spot the signs of trouble, get the timing of dealing with conflict right, be aware of what types of behaviour help and hinder – and enact it all with integrity.


· What one piece of advice would you give me? is a good technique

· Write emails back to front is good advice – start with the desired outcome

· The Three Day Challenge is good – analyse exactly what you do over a certain time period and make the necessary changes.

· Yes, you will get found out – and it’s OK. Many people suffer from Imposter Syndrome, especially when they are promoted into roles, but it happens to everyone, and there are plenty of ways to cope.

· A lot of books assert similar things, but this one actually gives you advice about what to do, and specific exercises to help in each instance.


· Nothing. It is a helpful handbook, especially if you want to address a work issue privately and work out what to do before trying a new approach.