8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2010
There are thousands of books on management, many of which offer a simple formula for success as a manager. Yet two things remain true: (1) a significant proportion of employees do not think their manager is competent in leadership or interpersonal skills, and (2) most managers are still appointed for their technical or operational skills rather than their ability to manage other people.
There is no simple formula for being successful as a manager. Managing other people well involves insight, empathy and a measure of boldness. Managers need to make judgements about complex matters and strike the "right" balance between tasks, business goals and care for people. It is not a skill that is natural for most people; it has to be learned, and not in the same way that technical skills are learned.
Bob Selden's book, What to do when you become the boss, does not fall into the "simple formula" category. But, as its title might suggest, it offers a straightforward pathway to competence as a manager. It provides a solid treatment of the major aspects of the management role. It addresses cognitive skills (related to the tasks that managers carry out, such as setting standards and goals, selecting people, running meetings and appraising performance) and emotional skills (interpersonal skills such as establishing relationships, motivating and influencing), and underpins this with values (respect for others and integrity).
This is primarily a book for the practising manager who wants to learn the management craft, not an academic text. It has been written with a strong consideration of different learning styles, and this is made explicit at the outset. Whether you consider yourself to be an activist, a reflector, a theorist or a pragmatist, this book caters convincingly to your style.
The wealth of experience that sits behind this book is evident in many ways. For example, it gives due importance to context. Management is not an activity that can be carried out without an understanding of the organisational context - the business and people factors. Managers need to know that what works here may not work there, and they need to know why that is.
Topics are dealt with in discriminating fashion. The book takes a clear position on issues rather than giving weak praise to all humanistic approaches. For example, it observes that not all "teams" are really teams, and sometimes they don't need to be. The section on feedback takes a forthright approach rather than urging blandness through fear of giving offence.
What of the title? Isn't it politically incorrect to refer to "the boss"? Rather than endorsing the term, Selden seems to be suggesting that we haven't come very far in the last few decades, and the ideas in the book are what we need in order to move beyond the image of the autocrat who is devoid of interpersonal skills. The book is a valuable handbook for learning how to make this transition.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2008
What a refreshing joy it was to read Bob Selden's wonderfully practical book which at last takes management out of the 19th century Fayol / Taylor approach and shows us how management really works in the 21st century. What's the big difference? Recognizing people management today is all about managing "24/7 human beings", not "9-5 work robots".
For too long managers have tried to push square pegs into round holes - fitting emotional beings into inanimate systems. When they don't fit, find one that does. 19th century workers had no choice but to accept whatever they were told. Today's workers make their own decisions about life and work.
Selden's book drips with experience, with liberal use of humane words and phrases like discuss, agree, share, praise, involve, enjoyment, appreciation, frequent and immediate feedback, recognition, thanks and - dare I mention it - feelings. He doesn't flinch however from the tough bits and gives sage-like advice on how to sack an unsatisfactory worker.
Selden also realizes that a good management book is a tool for finding answers when required. Selden respects our differences. In his categorization of managers (readers), I am largely an activist and so I liked being directed to the sections I should read first.
Selden echoes Ken Blanchard's famous saying "when did you last catch an employee doing something right?" with a refreshing emphasis on building on peoples' strengths. But he also emphasizes the need for praise to be genuine.
"What to do when you become the boss" will be welcomed by the emerging scene of female managers who instinctively apply emotional intelligence principles and by the x and y generation young leaders. Older managers who are being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century of people management will find Selden's book to be the ideal secret reading under the bedcovers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2010
Where was Bob Selden when I was asked - with no prior experience - to become a supervisor at Raytheon semiconductor several decades ago?
Becoming a manager has never been difficult, just become the top producer at what you do well and someone in upper management will assume you can manage too! Historically industry has believed they were creating an opportunity for their top workers. For those selected, who found themselves struggling to become managers with little or no training or support, it was a disastrous move. And, failure usually came with a rather high price. That price usually meant leaving the very organization they had honed their original work skills with. Had Bob's book, "What To Do When You Become The Boss", been available then, several industries that I can think of would have a very different breed of management today.
To me, Bob Selden is the consummate trainer. And, his book, which covers every facet of management learning. is more than a book, it is an effective training course for new managers, and a true support tool for anyone at any level of management or leadership. Beyond the strong content, I like how Bob has organized his book for all styles of learner. He even advises, at the beginning of each chapter on how to read and gain the most out of the chapter relative to your own learning preference.
Having been a career management and development consultant to managers and executives for the past 15 years I heartily recommend, if you are a new manager, read, earmark and plan to reread this book many times along your journey toward making management a solid career move. Irrespective of how you got your start!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2010
I've waded through of self-help books. They usually make the reader stagger through pages and pages of padding to find one small gem of an idea that may be relevant. This book is different. Its packed full of practical help from the first page. At last a really valuable resource presented in a friendly manner from someone who has obviously been there.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2008
There are many books aimed at first-time managers. What makes this one different is that it is not only about the classical managing a team topics, it covers topics rarely seem elsewhere. It is a complete guide that covers many different perspectives involved in the manager's job< Take the provocative "How to manage your boss" or the even more provocative "How to select your new boss" for instance. Written in a concise and down-to-earth manner, this book discusses:
- Leading vs Managing (what does it take to become an effective manager)
- Managing your team (8 chapters on all the must-have topics)
- Managing upwards & sideways (3 chapters packed with useful advice on influencing others)
- Managing your meetings (including group dynamics for decision making)
- Managing yourself (delegation, e-mail, image, etc.)
It is a very useful tool that brings effective ideas to deal with all the range of issues a new manager might face. Instead of reading 3 or 4 books or keeping a large handbook at hand, get this one and it will provide you with much of the best advice you can get in the market.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2010
This book is a great tool box for new and seasoned managers alike. For new managers, it takes you through all the things you need to take care of when it comes to managing people and tells you how to do it in a hands-on, practical way.
For seasoned managers, the book can be a handy reference tool, e.g. when a situation comes up you have not encountered for a while or when you want to prepare yourself for e.g. a performance review with your people.
The book is very complete and easy to access and read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2012
I liked that book. The advise was sound and practical. I have picked up some things. Loved the last section. The principles are very simple:
You learn in the first 30 days. Working with your boss. Agreeing the time frames, asking questions, listening, making observations. I liked the idea of 'ideal team' meeting, coaching, letting people to commit.
Only after 90 days you can start changing things, which by now you suppose to agree with management: culture, structure, systems (processes) or even people.
I have made notes in the book and when promotion comes I will follow the structured process of becoming a great manager.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2010
Oh, I wish Bob had written this book 30 years ago when I first became a manager. I think I eventually became a good manager, but it was trial and error, and every error meant trouble either of a business or personnel kind.
This book is invaluable to the newly promoted even giving them alternative ways of reading it dependent on whether they are a pragmatist, theorist, reflector or activist, I have never seen the like in a text book before.
Each chapter has an introductory leaning tips section before going into detail. The detail encompasses hints and tips, guiding steps and best practice, making it easy to read and understand.
Two thirds of the way through the book, there is a Managing Yourself section. This is useful for old managers as well as new ones. There is even a chapter on five of the worst mistakes new managers make. I challenge everyone to be honest and admit how many of those five they made.
At the very end of the book there is even a Frequently Asked Questions section, terrific.
All in all an excellent book, manage your time so that you can find time to read it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2010
This is one of the few management books that you can actually use and that gets taken off the shelf more than once. What makes it stand out is that it's not just a book of theory, it's full of practical steps and guidelines that means that you can actually start to do things.
Bob's writing style is down to earth, humorous and very user friendly. I am now recommending this book to my clients, even those who have been managers and leaders for many years. As Dennis Pratt says in the foreword, it is the type of book that is entirely `dip-in-able' with ideas and suggestions in a huge range of areas.
OK, so now for the disclaimer. I know Bob. He and I have worked together for many years, so of course I am going to like his book. However, before I get accused of sycophancy, what I can also tell you is that I have seen these tools used in the real world with a huge range of organisations and people. The bottom line is, they work! They have been tried and tested for many years and they actually deliver results.
What is possibly concerning to some people is that at times they can appear to be too simple. Surely we need to have more complex and difficult tools to use? As most people know, it's relatively easy to design something complex, however designing something simple that works--now that takes time and this is precisely what readers get in this book. The other problem with `complicated and difficult' is that the more difficult and complicated it is, the less likely it is to get done, let alone succeed.
I would highly recommend this book to new and not so new managers to keep on their desk because they are going to find they dip into it a lot!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2010
As a business coach, WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BECOME THE BOSS by Bob Selden, is a book I will reference often. I found several really powerful ideas for more effective leadership and management.
Selden opens his work with a way for the reader to determine their best methods of study. I found myself to be equal parts Activist and Protagonist and followed the direction of study as indicated, which means I skipped over a few parts here and there. In time, I will probably read the entire text.
Throughout the text, Seldon varies his approach, recognizing the differences in management styles. This is a refreshing variation from the normal "one size fits all" we find in so many management and leadership books. I guess the thing that impressed me the most with this book is the amount of fresh ideas.
Don't get me wrong. You will find a few things you've heard before in one way or another, but you'll also find ideas that will definitely make you alter your approach. Overall, a good book for any level of management. Easy to comprehend and covers a lot of territory.