It's Okay to Be the Boss Summary - Bruce Tulgan

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It's Okay to Be the Boss

It's Okay to Be the Boss Summary
Management & Leadership

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: 

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ISBN: 0061121363, 978-0061121364


The most significant problem for companies today is a sub-management epidemic that affects the entire scale of command. Bruce Tulgan's book provides a way for managers to reassume their role and become strong leaders their teams need. See the leadership role with other eyes. Not as a burden or an exhausting obligation, but as a valuable opportunity to be useful, contribute to increase the productivity of your team and help your subordinates achieve what they want and deserve. Bruce Tulgan's solid consulting experience states that bosses should spell out their expectations, tell each person exactly what to do and how to do, continuously monitor and evaluate their team's performance, quickly fix failures, and reward successes more quickly. He identifies and knows the main difficulties managers face with a practical and positive approach, destroying one by one the surrounding management myths. Learn the best way to be boss, losing fear, in just 12 minutes.

The undermanagement epidemic

It's tempting to look at this problem and blame employees or the company as a whole. But the real culprit has hidden behind the scenes: the manager. It's up to him/her to know what's going on in the store and make sure the work is going the right way. How? Managing those who are working! Telling employees what to do and how to do, monitoring, evaluating and documenting their performance, solving problems quickly and rewarding those who excel. Managing is a sacred commitment. If you are the boss, it is your responsibility to ensure that everything is working perfectly. You need to make sure that the work is being done well, with enough agility, all day long. The boss is also the first person subordinates will turn to when they need something or when something goes wrong. If there is any problem, the manager is the solution. If you are the boss, it is up to you that they will tell you. However, it is increasingly common to come across leaders, managers, and supervisors who don't lead, or manage, let alone oversee. They just don't take the reins of the job. They don't make their expectations at each stage of the process; they don't follow performances, they don't correct failures and don't reward successes. They are afraid to do this, don't feel like doing it, or don't know how.

The undermanagement epidemic was in our face all time

In the last years of the twentieth century, the professional behavior of the so-called Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1977, were said to be normal. In the early years of the twenty-first century, workers of all ages made it clear that without credible long-term promises on the part of employers, they would no longer be content to work quietly and obediently in an environment of fierce competition. The less they believed that the "system" would take care of them for a long enough period, the more demanding they would be about their immediate supervisors on short-term issues. With the pressure on the workplace growing steadily, it became increasingly difficult to satisfy employees.

It's getting harder to manage

It has always been difficult to manage. Managers are all the time in the crossfire between employer and employee, trying to reconcile their conflicting needs and expectations. Most managers, like most people in general, do their best to escape conflict. One of the legacies of old-fashioned work, when post-war myths about fulfilling obligations and climbing the ladder for job security prevailed, is the leadership mentality that leaves everything running wild and is based on the notion that the employee has to "figure out things on his own." In the long-term hierarchical model (with a pyramid-shaped organization chart) subordinates accepted the authority of their superiors without questioning. As a result, they were more likely to make many mistakes in trying to figure out what to do on their own. But, at that time, there was more room for waste and inefficiency. Now, there isn't.

Management has gone the wrong direction

The recent spread of the use of the phrase "take on the role" is just another way of expressing the rarely understood concept of "empowerment." Power delegation has been the subject of enormous confusion since Douglas McGregor presented the X and Y theories. The X theory says that the most motivated workers are those whose stimulus is external, such as fear, coercion and tangible rewards. The Y theory says that the most motivated workers are those whose stimulus is internal, like the desire, the conviction and the search for self-realization. Almost all relevant research indicates that individuals are, in fact, motivated by both internal and external factors. However, Y theory has remained at the base of the empowerment literature for several decades, and there is almost no talk of X theory. The result is that the "false delegation of power" has become the dominant approach in managerial training thinking and books.

The thorny managing reality

Managing people in the real world is very, very difficult, and there are no simple solutions. Most managers live under heavy pressure. They take supervisory positions because they are excellent at something, but not usually because they are exceptionally good at managing. Once promoted, most new managers receive little effective management training. The instructions and books they get are saturated with the idea of a false power delegation, few of them dealing with the "thorny" reality of management:

  • It is not always possible to hire "stars." You should hire the best professionals available, and often that person is in the middle of the scale, not at the top;
  • Managing a star can be more difficult than managing an average employee;
  • Even if you make your expectations clear, sometimes employees don't match them;
  • Not all are winners. Dealing with failure is a significant part of management;
  • Employees can't always focus on their strengths as there is a lot of work in progress and they are hired to do everything that needs to be done;
  • Not always are employees entitled to a compliment. And those who deserve it usually want tangible rewards, not just praise.

Don't be afraid of being a boss: Be an extraordinary manager! 

Don't be afraid to be boss. In fact, this is fundamental. The boss is the most important person in the workplace. Everyone is under increasing pressure. Employees are expected to work faster, harder, and smarter. They aren't willing to wait for the long-term rewards. They rely on their immediate boss, more than anyone else, to meet their core professional needs and expectations and cope with all the situations that come up at work. They want to know, "How do things work here? What do you want from me? What will I get for my effort today? "The boss is the point of contact. It is much more than that. After all, in everyday life, the boss defines his own experience at work. There is a consensus about this: several studies point out that the number one factor in productivity, high morale and talent retention is the relationship between employees and their immediate boss.

Get in the habit of managing every day

Most managers are so busy with their own "real work" that they see management as a burden. They run from it as many evade physical exercise. They only manage when they are forced to do so. As a result, they and their employees are out of shape, and unexpected problems crop up. When the situation goes out of control, these managers can no longer avoid responsibility and are forced to take action. At this point, however, they have a difficult task at hand: trying to run a marathon without proper physical training.

Avoid managing only in exceptional circumstances  Act continually.

First manage yourself daily

Effective management closely resembles physical fitness: the hard part is getting into the habit of doing it every day, no matter what obstacles you have to face. So stop running away. Don't lose sight of your real priorities. Commit yourself to doing this every day, as if your health depended on it. Start by reserving one hour a day as a sacred time for management. During this time, don't put out fires. Use this period to manage in advance, before anything goes wrong. This is just for you to keep in shape.

Then manage everyone... daily

Some managers prefer meetings with staff rather than individual daily conversations, but one mode doesn't replace the other. When you talk to an employee face to face, talk about expectations, ask for an account of their performance, review the results of their work or give feedback, there is no hiding place. In a team meeting, however, it is easy to hide - both for the manager and for the subordinates to him. Bosses often feel more comfortable giving sensitive news or passing feedback to the entire team than talking privately with each other. The problem is that sensitive news or feedback often goes to just one or two people. The rest of the staff is stunned and outraged. Just the people you're trying to "manage" on this team may not even realize that it's their business.

Talk about work

If you want to be the friend of your employees, go out for a beer with them after work. But at work, you need to be the boss. Your role is to keep everyone focused and doing their best every day. The best way to establish rapport with your subordinates is by talking about work. Work is what you have in common. In fact, that's the reason you have a relationship, to begin with. When you establish a relationship of camaraderie talking about work, you are decreasing the likelihood of conflicts and at the same time building a connection that will survive them if they ever arise. So talk about the work that has been done and what needs to be done. On how to avoid pitfalls, find shortcuts, ensure the availability of resources. About goals, deadlines, guidelines, and specifications. Talk, talk, talk about work. Everything will go much better.

You don't need to scream "Go! Go! Go!"

Many managers fear not to get authenticity, to sound artificial, if they try to speak like a coach. As one senior manager of a software company said, "No one's going to make me go out screaming to the entire company: 'Go! Go! Go! "I have nothing to do with this coach look." True coaching has very little to do with shouting words of encouragement within the company; it's just a technique. And to be effective, this stimulus can't be artificial. It needs to be authentic. Often, it's so genuine that you don't even realize you're doing it.

Don't wait for problems to start managing

The problem is that most managers only manage employees when they encounter a recurring performance failure, such as deadlines, poor quality work, behavior issues, or harmful behavior toward clients or co-workers. When the problem persists, the manager decides to call the employee to the management room: "Your performance isn't good, and we need to talk for a while until 'we' can resolve the problem with these meetings."

Get extraordinary performance out of common people

Even those who seem to be irrelevant in the process as a whole are of great importance. Those who, apparently, have no potential, must also be observed. There are reports of less talented individuals performing better than the stars. Just get the best out of each one.

For each person, a different approach

If each of us is different, why manage them similarly? There are those that only produce under pressure; others need the maximum of space to have the best performance. Knowing this difference is what makes a leader an effective boss.

Personal responsibility must be an effective process

You have just returned from your company's annual management conference, which theme was personal responsibility. You listened to several lectures from senior executives and invited experts: "Each one of you is responsible for your actions," said one. "Consider yourselves responsible for what you do," said another. And so it goes. You come back from the conference with your new "personal responsibility" mug and read an email from your boss reminding you that "your job is to take responsibility for your people." Personal responsibility is the order of the day in almost every business. But what does this mean? Personal responsibility means having to answer for your actions. The idea has a strong appeal: if an employee knows he or she will have to explain their actions to another person and that they will be rewarded or punished according to their performance, they are expected to act better. When executive leaders repeat the slogan of "personal responsibility," what they are trying to do is spread the following message: Do you know in advance that you need to explain yourself and that your actions will have consequences?

Tell people what to do and how to do it

Specify, of course. Don't leave holes and gaps. After all, responsibility will always fall upon you. The more detailed, the better.

Constantly follow perfomance

Imagine a boss who follows, daily, his performance and that of all the other team members. He knows what you've worked on before, what you're working on now, and what you're going to do next. One of his mottos is "Let's get this into paper." He is taking meticulous, organized, and accurate notes all the time, and refers to them in later conversations. In fact, the two of you use so much of this monitoring system to guide your work that when it comes time for your annual evaluation, there are never any surprises. We're talking about someone who pays attention to detail. A powerful boss, who correctly assigns responsibilities. A boss you respect. Now, think of a boss who doesn't keep up with his or her daily performance or that of other team members. You never know who is doing what or why. He is often unaware of his/her subordinates whereabouts. In fact, (s)he seems to know nothing but the basic information about the work. She/he is always out of it. She/he can't correctly assign responsibility to each one and is not respected. Which one do you look like? Are you interested in the details or not?

Knowledge is power

If you are the manager who "wants to know all the details," you will be respected and will have power, at least for the very fact that you follow the performance with such attention. Armed with knowledge about each employee and the work they do, you will be in a position to make judgments to increase productivity, quality, and professional experience of your subordinates. You can prepare them for success and help them continually improve their work and develop their skills.

Resolve small problems before they get big

You hate conflict with employees because you think it only makes things worse. Avoid giving negative feedback unless necessary. When small performance issues arise, you don't approach the person immediately. Instead, you allude to the problem, making suggestions in the hope that (s)he will understand the cue and improve the situation. At other times, if the question seems more or less insignificant, you turn a blind eye. It's true that some employees take advantage of this, but you still hesitate to get serious because you don't want to make a scene.

Final Notes

Although desired, the position of leadership in any environment is feared by those who aren't capable of managing. The simple attitudes presented here by Bruce Tulgan help us to be better leaders and clear our vision when delegating roles and managing individuals. Being boss can be easier than you might think and understanding employees individuality, combining a macro view of how business and human beings work is what makes all the difference in the workplace. Seek management, without fear!

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Who wrote the book?

Bruce Tulgan is an American author who concentrates on management training and generational diversity in the workforce. He has a Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law and is a sought-after speaker o... (Read more)