Peter Drucker’s Best Management Books, Quotes, and Timeless Advice

Last Updated on March 20, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

Peter Drucker may have passed away in 2005, but his contributions to the business world continue.

A prolific author and educator with a unique outlook on management, Drucker continues to be one of the most influential thinkers in the leadership space even to this day.  In addition, his commitment to ethical leadership has radically reshaped the relationship between managers and employees.
A photo of a treasure chest slightly open and glowing with promise and leadership advice

How did Peter Drucker define the job of a manager?

Peter Drucker is known as “the founder of modern management” for his approach to professional leadership.  He published 39 books on the subject during his lifetime that remain relevant 50 years on.  Many managers had a contentious, us-vs-them relationship with their direct reports at the time of his early publications.

Peter Drucker’s management theory
 took form in his 1954 book, The Practice of Management.  He discusses the concept of management by objectives or MBO.  This is a five-step process that governs effective management.  The steps are as follows:

  1. Define organizational objectives
  2. Communicate objectives to employees
  3. Monitor employee performance
  4. Evaluate employee progress
  5. Reward employee achievements

This cycle then repeats.  While this might seem like a common-sense approach to management, the Peter Drucker theory
 was revolutionary for its time and is still an ideal model to strive for.

You would be surprised how many of these simple steps are botched by even the most well-meaning business leaders.  Think about all the times in your organization when objectives were unclear or weren’t effectively communicated, or employees weren’t adequately evaluated or rewarded for their work.  Unfortunately, it happens all the time.

Drucker was a big proponent of viewing employees as assets, not liabilities.  A manager’s success depends almost entirely on their team’s success.  Therefore, it’s in the manager’s best interests to foster an atmosphere of encouragement and mutual growth.

Peter Drucker also posits that a manager must maintain high moral and ethical integrity levels.  He once said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Managers set the tone for their communities, and it’s essential to demonstrate the behavior you want to see reflected in your direct reports.

Managers at all levels can implement these strategies into their attitudes toward leadership by creating a people-centric culture governed by high standards of ethics and moral responsibility.  In addition, fostering an environment of communication, support, and inclusion is the quickest way for a functional team happy to contribute to your organization’s success.

Overall, Peter Drucker was a force of nature whose empathy, insight, and care for others revolutionized the relationship between manager and employee.  His work is a testament to the power of leaders dedicated to doing the right thing.  If you choose to be a professional manager or leader, you must go back and read Drucker’s ideas.  They have aged well and are actively used today.

As a business coach, I’ve held Peter Drucker’s lessons on management and leadership in very high regard throughout my career.  As a result, I’m happy to help my clients implement these techniques into their management styles whenever possible.  Click here to schedule a complimentary video call with me and discuss your goals.

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Dave Schoenbeck
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