It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need

It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need

by Bruce Tulgan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061121364
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/13/2007
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 161,589
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.77(d)

About the Author

Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder of Rainmaker-Thinking, Inc., a management training firm. Bruce is the author of the classic Managing Generation X as well as Winning the Talent Wars, and has written for the New York Times, USA Today, Harvard Business Review, and Human Resources. He lives with his wife, Dr. Debby Applegate, in New Haven, Connecticut, and Portland, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Undermanagement Epidemic

You walk into your local video store. On your way in, you notice two employees standing outside the door talking. One of them is lighting another cigarette; they've been there for a while. Inside, you see that the one employee behind the counter is too busy to help you find the DVD you want. When you find where the DVD is supposed to be, you realize the wrong DVD has been shelved behind the case. In frustration, you settle on another choice and go to the counter to check out. Of course, it takes forever to check out. As you leave, you silently curse the terrible service and think to yourself, "This place is terrible. They've got to start hiring better employees in this store!"

It is tempting to look at this problem and blame the employees, or the entire enterprise. But the real cause is hiding behind the scenes: the manager. It is the manager's job to keep track of what's going on in that store and make sure that all the work is getting done on a consistent basis. How? By managing the people who work there! By telling the employees what to do and how to do it, by monitoring and measuring and documenting their performance, by solving problems quickly, and by singling people out for reward when they do a great job. That's what managing is.

Managing is a sacred responsibility. If you are the boss, it is your responsibility to make sure everything goes well. You have to make sure all the work is getting done very well, very fast all day long. If you are the boss, employees look to you first when they need something, or when they want something, or when something is going wrong. If there's a problem, you are the solution.If you are the boss, you are the one everyone is counting on.

But too many leaders, managers, and supervisors are failing to lead, manage, and supervise. They simply do not take charge on a day-to-day basis. They fail to spell out expectations every step of the way, track performance constantly, correct failure, and reward success. They are afraid to, or they don't want to, or they just don't know how to. All across the workplace, at all levels of organizations in every industry, there is a shocking and profound lack of daily guidance, direction, feedback, and support for employees. This is what I call "undermanagement"—the opposite of micromanagement.

Show me a case of bad customer service—like the video store I described—and I'll show you a case of undermanagement. In fact, show me just about any problem in any workplace and I'll show you a case of undermanagement. Follow the trail into the workplace, behind the scenes: What went wrong with the response to Hurricane Katrina or the failure to bolster the New Orleans levees beforehand? What went wrong with the loss of personal data of millions of veterans at the VA? Data theft from credit card companies? Jayson Blair and the "made-up news" scandal at the New York Times? Dan Rather and the "National Guard" debacle? Other corporate stars gone wild? What went wrong at Enron? Arthur Andersen? Tyco? Medical mishaps? Pension deficits? Most airline delays? Whose job was it to make things go right? Whoever it is, that person has a boss. The boss is in charge. The boss is to blame. For what? For failing to make sure in the first place that the employees did their jobs properly.

Undermanagement is costing organizations a fortune every day. It robs so many employees of the chance to have positive experiences in the workplace, reach greater success, and earn more of what they need and want. It causes managers to struggle and suffer and deliver suboptimal results. It sours dealings with vendors and customers. And it costs society in so many ways. Undermanagement is not a household word like micromanagement, but it should be because its impact makes micromanagement look like a molehill.

The Undermanagement Epidemic: Hiding in Plain Sight

Back in 1993, I started investigating the work attitudes of Generation X (born 1965–1977), those of my own generation who were then just entering the workforce. Companies started inviting me to speak at their conferences, train their managers, observe their operations, interview their leaders, conduct focus groups with their employees. At first, I was focused exclusively on generational issues. I'd go into a company, interview their young employees, and then hold a seminar with the leaders and managers to share what the young employees had to say. It was usually the same basic story: "Your young workers feel like they don't get enough direction from their managers. They want more training. They want more support and guidance. They want more coaching. They want more feedback." I didn't realize it then, but the Generation Xers were really telling me that they were being undermanaged.

Like clockwork, one or more of the experienced workers would say something like "Son, welcome to the workplace. We all want someone to hold our hand and nobody is going to do that for you. When I started out, it was sink or swim every step of the way. If nobody told you what to do, you figured out what to do and you did it. Then you waited for your boss to notice you. No news was good news. If something went wrong, then you'd hear from your boss. Over time, you earn some seniority and the system takes care of you. It's no different now. These Generation Xers need to do what we all did. Pay your dues and climb the ladder." What these experienced workers were really telling me was that undermanagement had been the norm for as long as they could remember.

Although undermanagement was hiding in plain sight right before my eyes, it took me years to really start tuning in to the problem. Throughout the 1990s, as the tech boom . . .

It's Okay to Be the Boss
The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need
. Copyright © by Bruce Tulgan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

1 The Undermanagement Epidemic 1

2 Get in the Habit of Managing Every Day 33

3 Learn to Talk Like a Performance Coach 45

4 Take It One Person at a Time 54

5 Make Accountability a Real Process 73

6 Tell People What to Do and How to Do It 89

7 Track Performance Every Step of the Way 105

8 Solve Small Problems before They Turn into Big Problems124

9 Do More for Some People and Less for Others 42

10 Start Here 163

Acknowledgments 187

Index 191

About the Author 197

What People are Saying About This

Peter Cappelli

Hands on management advice . . . an excellent book.

Mike Archer

“Bruce Tulgan makes it safe again to be a hands-on manager.”

Dennis J. Reimer

“If you want to be successful, I strongly recommend you do it the ‘Tulgan way.’”

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It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a welcome addition to the management advice field. It¿s not just okay to be the boss, supervisors at all levels need to be reminded that management is their responsibility ¿ and they need to be given the tools to manage. Bruce Tulgan¿s book accomplishes this. Workers, especially those new to the job, need to be supervised and told what to do (and what not to do). Communication, immediate feedback and skill development are all critical to an employee's success -- all things that the author has been talking about for years in his previous books. In my field, I see undermanagement everyday. And undermanaged employees make poor managers. I'm glad Bruce Tulgan now has people talking about it and is working to break the cycle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Extremely practical, well laid-out and intelligient method for evaluating and improving managerial performance. A+++ Mr. Tulgan!
BizCoach on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Good book on how to manage people - at the foreman type level. Get specific on what you want them to do and follow up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am just starting as a manager in a new place so using this book as my refresher and strengthen my resolve to be better boss than in past jobs. Can't wait to get started...wish I had this book in my earlier jobs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As sammy sat in the box trembling scared she heard the mother and daughter approaching again. "This should do lizzy. Cat food,cat toys,catnip,cat crate,cat leash,and cat crate. Sammy was lifted from the table she peered out the airhokes but couldnt see anything. "What are u gonna name her lizzy?" The mother asked. "I dont know im tryng to decide between Sparkle,Fluffy,or Furball." Lizzy replied. "I think she looks like a Sweety." The mom said. "YES!" lizzy practically screamed. Samantha mewed coverng her sensitive ears. "Sorry Sweety." Lizzy said. "Thats gonna get old." Sammy muttered but it came out a mew. The car came to a stop. Here they were.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Mr. Tulgan.... Our company management team has learned much from Bruce's techniques. Thank you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bruce Tulgan has come up with another winner in management books. He teaches a straightforward approach to management problem solving. A #1 book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sharp and right to the point. Cuts through miles of bull and focuses on strong management tools. Excellent book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've had an opportunity to both see Bruce Tulgan speak as well as having read a number of his books. As I've worked in both real estate and financial services, I can pick out those who are being managed well 'not too many' and those who are not. Tulgan nails it when he suggests that the costs of poor management are staggeringly high in any industry but especially those that require a high degree of customer service. Well written, an easy read, chock full of hands on advice informative and compelling at the same time. Tough to put down - I read it in two sittings!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tulgan has done it again. One of the best management gurus out there gives us what might be his best work yet. As always, Tulgan has an uncanny ability to reveal the future of business, the workplace, and management. A must read for all business managers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found Bruce Tulgan's book 'its ok to be the boss' to be easy to understand while still providing smart and simple ways to help anyone who is a boss and deals with employees. I reccomend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i could use this on my friends sweet ;););):):):):):):):) #COLTS ARE GREAT!!!!!!! TELL ME IF I Did a bad job #savanna
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok! So..shall you begin?
Betim Deva More than 1 year ago