Career Focus


BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 03 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:S3a-7124
  • Enhancing your people skills “amounts to struggling with a whole host of things that are easier said than done,” it's true, but Peter Honey's book Improve your people skills might be an interesting place to start. This occupational psychologist turned industrial trainer and guru has distilled the wisdom of twenty years of management consulting into a slim volume that covers most interpersonal work behaviours (acquiescence to worry via leadership and manipulation). Although Honey claims to be a behaviourist, his sources are eclectic, and its arrangement - in short alphabetised sections - readily lends itself to a spot of bedtime reading. Honey P. Improve your people skills (2nd ed). London: Institute of Personnel and Development, 1997.

  • The concept of skill mix is “little understood, elusive to define, and therefore difficult to measure.” So opens Skill mix in primary care, a report of a study of workload, teamwork, delegation and patient satisfaction in primary care. Researchers from the Centre for Health Economics in York studied ten practices selected purposively for their weak and strong skill mixes (the ratio of doctors to nurses). Interestingly, none of the structural characteristics of the practices seemed to predict workload activity or delegation: more important was the “working style” of the practice organisation, which, the report concludes, it is important to identify and monitor. Jenkins-Clarke S, Carr-Hill R, Dixon P, Pringle M. Skill mix in primary care: a study of the interface between the general practitioner and other members of the primary health care team - a final report. York: Centre for Health Economics, 1997.

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