Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization
Buy Rights Online Buy Rights

Rights Contact Login For More Details

More About This Title Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization


In this book the author explains that managers must build human capital and engender employee engagement by managing them almost not at all, by attending instead to the factors and circumstances that make them successful. In other words, managers must play their role from offstage and out of the limelight. Based on a survey of over 16,000 employees, the author presents Towers-Watson' management performance model: Executing tasks, Building relationships and performance capability, and Energizing change. Additionally, managers must create an atmosphere of authenticity and trust.


Thomas O. Davenport is a senior practitioner in the San Francisco office of Towers Watson, a worldwide human resource consulting firm. He provides advice on human capital strategy, employee and organization research, and leadership development to clients in a wide variety of industries.

Stephen D. Harding is a senior practitioner in the London office of Towers Watson. He has consulted in employee research and organizational behavior for the last twenty years and has responsibility for managing employee research projects throughout Europe and elsewhere internationally.


Preface vii

Part I: Context 1

1 Do Managers Matter? 3

A Brief History of Management 4

Defining Management and Leadership 7

The Definition, and the Power, of Engagement 16

Summary 22

2 Why Managers Have a Tough Job 25

Employees Are Smart and Demanding 26

We Have Ambivalent Feelings about Leadership and Followership 29

We Really Don’t Like Being Told What to Do 32

Managers Behave Badly 33

Summary 36

3 A New Model of Manager Performance 39

Managers and Competitive Advantage 41

The Manager Performance Model 51

Summary 66

4 Constructing the Manager Role 71

Manager Contribution—The Player-Coach Job 72

Manager Competency—The Technical Skill Dilemma 74

The Size of the Job—Span of Control 81

Building the Role System 89

Summary 101

Part II: Implementation 103

5 Executing Tasks 105

Planning Work 106

Clarifying Job Roles 115

Monitoring Progress 137

Summary 139

6 Developing People 143

Acting as a Human Capital Treasurer 144

Providing Direct Development 153

Goal Setting and Performance Feedback 161

Summary 172

7 Delivering the Deal 177

Transforming the Extrinsic into the Intrinsic 178

Individualizing Rewards 181

Boosting Engagement Through Recognition 187

Summary 194

8 Energizing Change 199

Coping with Imposed Change 200

Choosing to Change 213

Sustaining Engagement 218

Summary 225

9 Authenticity and Trust 229

Connecting Authenticity and Trust 229

Building Trust Through Authenticity 232

Implications for Manager Performance 244

Summary 253

10 Fitting the Pieces Together 257

Manager Role Structure and Performance Model—A Summary 258

What Makes a Great Manager? 259

Can a Good Manager Manage Anything? 265

Make Versus Buy 266

Notes for Those Who Want Managers to Succeed 269

Notes 281

The Authors 313

Index 315


One of the CIPD’s core messages to policy-makers over the past 15 years has been the importance of improving leadership and management capability to boost UK productivity. This message lies at the heart of Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organization…The book reinforces the case for investing in improving management capability, drawing on Towers Watson’s database of staff survey responses. It also presents a range of case studies providing examples of how a focus on making changes to management behaviour delivers bottom-line results. From this evidence the authors have developed their Manager Performance Model, which they break down into four core elements: executing tasks, developing people, delivering the deal and energising change… Davenport and Harding highlight the importance of effective partnership between executive teams and HR in breathing life into the Manager Performance Model and set out a list of areas practitioners need to consider if they want their managers to drive competitive advantage. The book should also make compelling reading for policy-makers interested in meeting the UK ’s people management skills deficit to drive economic growth.
People Management, publication of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Europe's largest HR development professional body

In Manager Redefined, Tom Davenport and Stephen Harding…view supervisors and managers as centres of insight and influence, underappreciated in many organizations, but endowed nevertheless with the potential to make dramatic contributions to enterprise success….The authors challenge readers to consider the power embedded in their managers’ accumulated knowledge and experience…The authors provide a sound and practical performance model that reflects both current workplace reality and enduring human traits.
—From HR Leader (Australia)

In Manager Redefined, Davenport and Harding assert that managers not only matter to a company’s success, but also represent a potentially critical element in the performance equation. Drawing on extensive use of case studies, survey data and consulting experience, Manager Redefined identifies a performance model that depicts how managers contribute most directly and significantly to sustainable competitive advantage.
—, the on-line site of the Drake Business Review