One of the better guides to effective managerial behaviour, Developing Management Skills for Europe, is now in its second European edition.

The blurb on the back cover tells us that: “The text aims to link the latest in academic research with the practicalities of working in an increasingly globalised environment.”

The need for effective management training is self-evident. A US study of 110 Fortune 500 companies found that only 43 per cent of chief executive officers (CEOs) were satisfied with graduate management skills, and a mere 28 per cent were satisfied with interpersonal skills.

This is further evidenced by a study by the US Postal Service of 49 of the largest 100 post offices in the US that looked at how to make post offices more effective. Its principle conclusions were that management training is more important than providing maintenance training in accounting for improved productivity and service; that both kinds of training were more important than having automated or up-to-date equipment in the post office; and that low-tech offices outperformed high-tech offices when managers were provided with management skill training.

Although written by academics, this is a practical textbook, presenting the theory and principles of the effective performance of each skill using case studies, role-plays, simulations and exercises – hopefully giving the reader the opportunity to develop new skills. Progress can be gauged by a series of self-assessment exercises in each chapter. The skills covered are broken down into sections: intrapersonal skills, covering the basics of self-awareness, managing stress and effective problem solving; interpersonal skills, covering constructive communication, effective motivation and conflict management; people management, covering empowerment, delegation and teams, leaders and managers; and the final section concentrates on specific communication skills, providing the reader with protocols for everyday situations, from interviewing and oral presentations to the management of information.

While the guide might not be the most radical on the market, it is certainly one of the most comprehensive. It provides a useful learning tool to those just starting out in the management game as well as explaining the conceptual knowledge behind the techniques taught. It may also be useful to more senior managers keen to test their knowledge against the selfassessment tests. If you want to be top of the class on your next management training day, or would prefer to avoid it altogether, this book could be the key.