management of the absurd

is an excellent book by Richard Farson, subtitled Paradoxes in Leadership (isbn 0-684-83044-2). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
The more important a relationship, the less skill matters.
Any technique loses its power when it becomes evident that it is a technique.
People need to know they are dealing with a genuine person, not someone who is "managing" them.
It is only when the balance of power is relatively equal that truly candid communication can and should take place.
When we really listen, so that we understand the other person's perspective, we risk being changed ourselves.
Every management act in some way redistributes or reinforces power.
Ex-convicts are better able to rehabilitate prison inmates than is the prison staff. Ex-drug addicts are more successful in getting other addicts off drugs than are psychiatrists. Students learn more from each other than they do from their professors.
The introduction of highly participative systems tends to bring attacks on the stronger members, often the leaders, while more hierarchical systems bring attacks on the weaker members.
The way to judge your effectiveness is to assess the quality of the discontent you engender.
Scale is the enemy of creativity... Only prisons housing fewer than twenty inmates are likely to be rehabilitative.
The big change... held; the little ones have been much easier to resist.
We learn not from our failures but from our successes - and the failures of others.
By and large, organizations are simply not good at changing themselves. They change more often as a result of invasion from the outside or rebellion from the inside, less so as a result of planning.
Planning may not be effective at assessing the future, but it can be a good way to assess the present.
Strengths and weaknesses come dressed in the same clothing.
Children look at things we turn away from. Sometimes just pointing at what is going on is a valuable way to break through a barrier.
When people feel responsible for handling some situation in which they are, in fact, largely helpless, a dangerous combination of feelings is created: responsibility plus helplessness leads to abuse.
Training makes people more alike... Education... tends to make people different from each other.

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