It's Okay to Be the Boss - Bruce Tulgan

It's Okay to Be the Boss - Bruce Tulgan

Are you in doubt if you are a good leader? Learn practical lessons to manage better your team and start implementing them today.

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Do you have doubts if you are a good leader? Is your team not performing as it should? What makes a good leader? All these questions will be answered in this summary of the book "It's Okay to Be the Boss", by Bruce Tulgan.

The author explains what are the qualities of a good leader, showing common mistakes that leaders do in all kind of companies. Also, he teaches how to overcome these obstacles and better manage your team, resulting on better results!

Got interested to know all the leadership techniques necessary to improve your profits? Stay with us in this summary!

About the book "It's Okay to Be the Boss"

The book "It's Okay to Be the Boss: by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need" (2007) was written by Bruce Tulgan.

The book seeks to demonstrate to the reader good practices for an effective team management, as well as to provide a very didactic guide on how to act in certain corporate situations.

About the author Bruce Tulgan

Born in 1967 in the state of Massachusetts (United States), Bruce Tulgan graduated in Law from New York University. He is also a consultant to business leaders and a speaker, as well as founder and CEO of Rainmaker Thinking, a management training company.

In addition to be a best-selling author, Bruce Tulgan received in 2009 the Golden Gavel Award, which is awarded annually to a single person who symbolizes excellence in the areas of communication and leadership.

To whom is this book indicated?

If you hold a leadership position and want to:

  • Improve your management;
  • Develop a successful team;
  • Increase the capacity of your team;
  • Potentialize the results of your teams;
  • Do all the above items and still stress less, this book is for you!

Main ideas of the book "It's Okay to Be the Boss"

  • The importance of management in the present day;
  • The 7 myths that undermine management.

But not only that! The author also teaches good practices to improve management, which we could not fail to explain to you! They are:

  • Exercise management daily;
  • The practice of day-to-day coaching;
  • Customized approach;
  • Responsibility for actions;
  • Empower people;
  • Track performance;
  • Solve it before it's too late;
  • Do more for who deserves;
  • Apply.

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

Overview: The importance of management these days

Do you believe that it is much more difficult to manage a company today than it was in the past? Bruce Tulgan considers that yes. He examines that this is because of the facility to access information.

By this way, because of the globalized world and the changes occurring at all times, waste and inefficiency are no longer allowed.

To adapt to the needs of the market and the great competition, it is important to develop a more effective management methodology.

Overview: The 7 myths that undermine management

  • Myth of Power Delegation: If you've ever believed that delegating power is letting people manage themselves, you've been a victim of that myth! In the author's view, the more guidance an employee has, the greater is his income. He also alerts to some cases that the management is failing:
  1. If the employee needs to consult the manager at all times;
  2. If the employee makes decisions without consulting the manager;
  3. If there is no division of tasks.
  • Myth of Justice: Do you consider that to be fair is to treat everyone in the same way? For the Bruce Tulgan, this is a myth. He says that treating everyone alike, regardless of income, is unfair and frustrates the best employees;
  • Myth of the Cool Guy: For you, the only way to be cool with your employees is by not being firm with them? If you answered yes, you are a victim of this myth. "Cool" managers are those who help their employees to achieve the goals;
  • Difficult Conversation Myth: Would you rather not talk to your employees to avoid conflict? If so, you are heading in the wrong direction. The difficulty of the conversations is related to the fact that they are sporadic and the way out is constant practice. Do you know why?
  1. Conversation creates intimacy and updates you on the needs of your employees;
  2. Conversation enables alignment of expectations between leader and employee;
  3. Practicing on a recurring basis, you avoid talking only when the problem can no longer be avoided.
  • Myth of bureaucratic hurdles: In your opinion are there many bureaucracies that undermine the way you manage? If you justify your arguments in this fact, you are wrong! It is possible that there are rules that stop the process, but a good manager seeks to learn them and works accordingly without giving up the objective.
  • Myth of the born leader: Do you believe you have no talent for management? If so, stop thinking about it now! Bruce says many born leaders are not good managers. For him, leadership is different from managing. While a leader inspires, is visionary and charismatic, a manager is technical and skillful. Bruce states that both characteristics can be developed.
  • Myth of time: Your argument for not managing people is lack of time? The author states that "since time is limited, there is definitely no time not to manage."

Now that you are within the importance of managing, of all limiting myths and beliefs, it's time to learn how to manage correctly!

Oh, it is very important that you keep in mind that:

  • It is not always possible to hire the best;
  • Managing a very good employee can be more difficult than managing others;
  • It is necessary to learn to deal with failure;
  • Sometimes a compliment is not enough.

Overview: Manage Every day

Simple practices, but that must be done every day:

  • Manage yourself every day: Try to list the activities you are going to carry out, who you are meeting with, what time you are going to analyze the performance of your people.
  • Manage everyone, every day.
  • How? It could be with a quick conversation with a team as long as it is continuous.
  • What should you talk about?
  • Seek to ask questions that verify the progress of the activity;
  • Ask your employees to list completed activities from the previous day and those that will be done on the current day;
  • Ask if there is any impediment or difficulty in doing something. ,

Overview: Practicing day-to-day coaching

Learn that you can get closer to your employees and increase the effectiveness and productivity of your team, but for that:

  • Talk about working with your employees;
  • Do not wait for problems to start managing your team;
  • Get different results through practice and methods.

Coaching tools are an excellent alternative for you to integrate and optimize your team.

Overview: Custom approach

Understand that it is not beneficial to use a generic approach in a team. Therefore, you must figure out the best strategy to maximize the results of every employee.

First step: Customize the management

  • Define a person and discover how the person performs his tasks;
  • Ask yourself why you need to manage that person;
  • List the points you need to talk to her;
  • Find the best way to talk;
  • Decide where the person will be most comfortable to talk;
  • Set when the conversation will happen.

Second step: Define the management frequency

You always need to ask yourself how often you need to manage that person. For this, it is necessary:

  • Set day and time (it can be tailored according to needs);
  • Set the frequency.
  • Repeat this process with everyone on the team.

Doing that you will create what Bruce Tulgan calls as Managerial Panorama.

Overview: Responsibility for actions

The book "It's Okay to Be the Boss" advises you to attach consequences considering the performance of your employees. To do this, the author suggests that you:

  • Expose, in advance, your expectations with the results of a given activity;
  • Create clear terms of income and consequences (beneficial in case of compliance; punitive, in event of non-compliance);
  • Monitor employee performance at each stage;
  • Implement the agreed consequences on the beginning of the activity.

Keep in mind that there are some factors that can interrupt the process, but he cautions you to be aware that your employees do not use them as an "excuse" to justify the poor performance. They are:

  • Complication 1: "I am waiting for something, so I can not perform the task";
  • Complication 2: "Other job obligations hampered my income";
  • Complication 3: "I've been doing it the wrong way for a long time and so...";
  • Complication 4: "I'm a beginner manager with this team and so...";
  • Complication 5: "Some people I manage are my friends and so...";
  • Complication 6: "I do not have direct authority over some employees, yet I have to manage them and so...";
  • Complication 7: "I manage people who work in areas under which I do not have any knowledge / experience and therefore...".

Have control of the situations

Take some action in order to take control of situations, such as:

  • Make it clear to your employees that they should justify their actions to you (in detail and often);
  • Associate employee actions with consequences;
  • Make sure your subordinates know in advance that you will hold them accountable for their actions;
  • Focus on the actions over which the employee has control;
  • Ask for results of the personal responsibilities;
  • Elevate your standards;
  • Take command from the first day (make today as the first day);
  • Separate professional staff.

Overview: Empower people

It is the leader's responsibility to tell how a leader should perform a task. For this, the author suggests that you ask some questions to the employee before delegating the activity.

  • Basic questions
  • Are you able to do this?
  • Are you sure about that?
  • What do you need from me?
  • Poll Questions
  • How are you going to do this?
  • How will it begin?
  • What steps do you intend to take?
  • Focus questions
  • How long will this step take?
  • How long will the other step take?
  • How is your timeline?

Bruce alerts you to the fact that you should listen to your employee and quickly assess if he understood what he was asked for. If not, you should repeat the same questions until there are no more questions.

Do you want to know how to keep expectations clear as they can change daily? Talk to your employees on a daily basis to:

  • Check if priorities have changed;
  • Determine what they should focus on;
  • Align expectations of achievement;
  • Alert them to follow Standard Operating Procedures.

Overview: Track performance

If you want to avoid surprises and want to reduce how often you delete small problems, the alternative is track the performance of your team. For this you must daily talk about what he did the day before and what he will do on the current day.

It is extremely important that you understand that. The less you know the activities of your employees, the more difficult it will be to:

  • Guide;
  • Identify needs, get ahead of problems and correct minor mistakes;
  • Set goals;
  • Establish responsibilities and evaluate performance;
  • Motivate your employees.

Evaluate the performance

To evaluate performance there are 5 alternatives:

  1. Observe your employees in action;
  2. Ask for an activity report;
  3. Promote the use of checklists;
  4. Check the work in progress regularly (perform small audits);
  5. Look for information about your professional performance with other professionals.

Track the performance

According to Bruce Tulgan, for you to track performance accurately, you should seek answers to the following questions:

  • Has the employee fulfilled all that was stipulated?
  • Has he/she performed all the tasks that were set?
  • Did he complete his assignments according to the guidelines and specifications provided?
  • Did he follow the Standard Operating Procedure?
  • Did he meet the deadlines that were set?

If you monitor your employees periodically, it will be okay to ask such questions!

Document the performance

It is also important that you document performance in a simple way. For the author, this should be done as follows:

  • Define expectations: contain goals, requirements, instructions on how to accomplish the task (SOPs) and deadlines;
  • Concrete actions: document what you observed about the employee's performance or what you talked to him;
  • Ratings: Are the actions in line with expectations? Did they follow SOP and rules? Did they reach goals on time?

For the author, when an employee's performance is monitored, the risk of failure is reduced, and even if it occurs, it will be simpler to solve.

Overview: Resolve before it is too late

To do so, the author suggests that you:

  • Opt to apply continuous feedback on behavior and performance, directly and objectively;
  • Learn to manage conflicts briefly;
  • Solve a small problem before it becomes large, so you spend less energy and time;
  • Do not neglect any problem;
  • Always talk to your followers.

The possible types of problems are:

  • Capacity problem: Your employees are not up to your task. How to solve it? Replace tasks with more appropriate ones. If it is not possible, know that you have the wrong person for the job;
  • Preparation problem: Your employees are not aware of or don't master the techniques to carry out the activity. How to solve it? Training them;
  • Motivation problem: How to solve it? Identify what discourages a person through routine conversations.

The dilemma of a difficult conversation

  • Go with performance data and be specific;
  • Make it clear that you are meeting to talk about some problem;
  • Be direct;
  • Make it clear that low yield is unacceptable;
  • Present a list of practices not negotiable to be met within a specific deadline;
  • Please advise that if practices are not followed, there will be negative consequences.

What are negative consequences?

  • You will stop doing everything in your power to help the employee.

Why giving another chance?

Bruce Tulgan presents five reasons why you can give another chance, before dismissing an employee:

  1. You've invested time and energy. There is not much difference in trying to invest a little more;
  2. Depending on the situation or the employee, you may be willing to make an extra effort;
  3. You can save costs for your business if you turn a low-income employee into a high-income employee;
  4. If you have to dismiss, you have given one last chance;
  5. Your company may require this.

When dismiss someone?

"It's Okay to Be the Boss" gives factors that indicate that when there is no other solution but to dismiss someone:

  • When the person doesn't change and continuing with him represents spending more;
  • When you realize that you should not invest more time, energy and money in a person who will not improve;
  • When the other chance is the opportunity the person has to criticize you, the staff and the company;
  • If you mapped performance, you do not have to give another chance;

Reasons to dismiss

  • The employee causes problems that need to be solved by others;
  • Great performers hate working with incompetent people, and you can not afford to lose the best;
  • The permanence of those who do not give good results conveys a message that low performance is tolerated in the company.

Overview: Do more for whom deserves

Bruce's main warning is that you should never make sensitive deals. That is, if you have to benefit an excellent employee, make and explain to all the reason why made it up.

By adopting this practice, you pass the message that to make concessions is necessary to have a performance as good or better than those who have received such benefits.

To measure performance, Tulgan emphasizes the importance of continuous performance analysis.

In addition, he says that it is useless to treat everyone in the same way, because in these cases the best employees always stay in disadvantage. That's why you should analyze performance and reward who deserves it, whether with extra pay, flexibility of schedules, vacation days or something your employee wants.

Overview: Apply

Now that you have the knowledge of participatory and rigorous management proposed by Bruce, it's time to go into practice.

To do this, analyze your company's culture, make sure it is more participatory or rigorous in management, to enhance your new way of managing.

  • Book a time of the day for conversations directed to the management;
  • Learn coaching techniques;
  • Create the Managerial Overview;
  • Develop a schedule for conversations with your team;
  • Perform follow-up on how to manage;
  • Define who needs more rigor and who needs more freedom;
  • Define which employees can improve performance.
  • Define the best and worst employees;
  • Define who deserves prizes and privileges.

Among several other techniques and examples from the book, the author also points out that it is important to talk to your superior and your staff.

What do other authors say about it?

In the book "The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team", author Patrick Lencioni points out that lack of confidence, commitment, responsibility, attention and conflict fear are the 5 team challenges. Thus, in the course of the book, he develops strategies for identify them, how to solve them and what role a leader has in these situations.

The authors Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Branden Kowitz bring in the book "SPRINT" a methodology for applying ideas in just 5 days, which is used at Google. Sprint has a very well-defined application method and has tasks to do each day of the week, starting on Monday, so that on Friday the idea has already gone out of the paper.

James C. Hunter, author of "The Servant" tells the story of John, an executive chef, husband and father, who seeks to change the situation in his life. In this way, he goes to a monastery and has lessons from a successful former executive, who has abandoned everything to seek meaning in his trajectory.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

To apply the main ideas in your life, you should:

  • Seek to talk more with your team;
  • Define how to manage your team;
  • Create and define priorities, goals, expectations and consequences;
  • Create a schedule of the actions that will be carried out;
  • Hold brief but daily meetings;
  • Monitor the income of your employees;
  • Promote continuous feedback.

Did you like this summary of the book "It's Okay to Be the Boss"?

Are you ready to apply all those lessons in your business life? Leave your feedback in the comments. So we can always offer the best content!

Moreover, if you have interest in purchase the full edition of the book, it is available by clicking in the image below

Book 'It's Okay to Be the Boss'