You never dreamed being the boss would be so hard. You're caught "Being the Boss" is an insightful and readily accessible book” – ruthenpress.info “ engaging. As Harvard Business School's Linda Hill and manager and executive Kent Lineback reveal in Being the Boss, becoming an effective manager is a painful, difficult journey. This essential book, now with a new preface, explains how to avoid that fate by mastering three imperatives. Start by marking “Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader” as Want to Read: You never dreamed being the boss would be so hard. As Linda Hill and Kent Lineback reveal in Being the Boss, becoming an effective manager is a painful, difficult journey.
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Review the key ideas in the book Being the Boss by Linda Hill & Kent Lineback in a condensed Soundview Executive Book Review. Summaries & book reviews. You never dreamed being the boss would be so hard. You're caught in a web of conflicting expectations from subordinates, your supervisor, peers, and. Ask any new manager about the early days of being a boss—indeed, ask any The shelves are lined with books describing effective and successful leaders.
This is an outlier as far as engagement goes, but still indicative. A company that encourages personal disruption, allowing their people to move into new roles, work on stretch assignments, and continue learning on the job, have employees that are happy, productive, motivated and engaged. Inam: How do you define personal disruption?
But then—crucially—you find a new challenge to tackle, or else you risk becoming bored, complacent and ineffectual, and the cycle starts over. Inam: How can a great boss help their team members engage in personal disruption? Whether they oversee a team of ten or ten thousand, they can encourage disruption by saying yes when employees want to move on to new projects, by promoting them, by hiring individuals that show potential rather than proficiency, by giving people work that will stretch and challenge them.
The best bosses facilitate growth and celebrate the success of others, and this establishes their reputation as a talent developer and a boss who people love to work for. Inam: Most people today are fairly exhausted with the pace of change and ambiguity in their organizations. The last thing they want to hear about is more disruption. How is your book a great tool for them to work in the disruptive environment around them? This is because it gives individuals and managers an internal guidepost within the organization that paves the path for intentional change—change that they can control and manage.
When an individual is moving along their personal S-curve, they are in a flow of learning and growth, change that is intentional and foundational, not volatile. Eager, capable employees, tackling new challenges are a key driver of innovation within an organization.
Inam: Some people are naturally more excited about personal disruption and change than others. How can this book help everyone? Leaders that build A teams create a culture that oozes personal disruption. When new hires are onboarded, they need to be immersed in the walk and talk of learning curves, personal growth and change.
They hire those who are unafraid to start at the bottom of the S-curve. They bring in managers who can spot talent and who are willing to sponsor and facilitate jumps to new curves. Importantly, they look for prospects that have expansive potential rather than proficiency. Inam: What are the biggest challenges to motivating employees?
How can the ideas in your book help bosses? Employees become un-motivated because they are bored and unchallenged at work. Change, not stasis, is the natural mode of human life, we are wired for change.
Stasis, standing still, being stuck in a non-challenging role, is what leads to boredom, un-engagement and a lack of motivation. Whether managing a small team or overseeing thousands of people across several business units, the best bosses get this. They cultivate environments that keep the work experience fresh.
They encourage and facilitate personal disruptions. They recognize that the best reward they can give their people—the thing that motivates and engages beyond money or praise—is learning. In fact, the more talented the subordinate, the less likely she is to simply follow orders. That is, authority emerges only as the manager establishes credibility with subordinates, peers, and superiors. They need to demonstrate their character —the intention to do the right thing. Such scrutiny can be unnerving.
They need to demonstrate their competence —knowing how to do the right thing. This can be problematic, because new managers initially feel the need to prove their technical knowledge and prowess, the foundations of their success as individual performers. When Peter Isenberg took over the management of a trading desk in a global investment bank, he oversaw a group of seasoned, senior traders.
To establish his credibility, he adopted a hands-on approach, advising traders to close down particular positions or try different trading strategies. The traders pushed back, demanding to know the rationale for each directive. Things got uncomfortable. One day, Isenberg, who recognized his lack of knowledge about foreign markets, asked one of the senior people a simple question about pricing.
The trader stopped what he was doing for several minutes to explain the issue and offered to discuss the matter further at the end of the day. His eagerness to jump in and try to solve problems raised implicit questions about his managerial competence. Finally, new managers need to demonstrate their influence —the ability to deliver and execute the right thing. Once again, we see a new manager fall into the trap of relying too heavily on his formal authority as his source of influence.
Instead, he needs to build his influence by creating a web of strong, interdependent relationships, based on credibility and trust, throughout his team and the entire organization—one strand at a time.
Most new managers, in part because of insecurity in an unfamiliar role, yearn for compliance from their subordinates. As a means of gaining this control, they often rely too much on their formal authority—a technique whose effectiveness is, as we have seen, questionable at best. But even if they are able to achieve some measure of control, whether through formal authority or authority earned over time, they have achieved a false victory.
Compliance does not equal commitment. She had in fact been awarded the job in part because of her personal style, which her superiors hoped would compensate for her lack of experience in the Latin American market and in managing profit-and-loss responsibilities.
In addition to being known as a clear thinker, she had a warm and personable way with people. During the project, she successfully leveraged these natural abilities in developing her leadership philosophy and style. Instead of relying on formal authority to get what she wanted from her team, she exercised influence by creating a culture of inquiry. Once she got the information and knew what you were doing, you had to be consistent. The more power managers are willing to share with subordinates in this way, the more influence they tend to command.
When they lead in a manner that allows their people to take the initiative, they build their own credibility as managers.
Managing interdependencies and exercising informal authority derived from personal credibility require new managers to build trust, influence, and mutual expectations with a wide array of people. This is often achieved by establishing productive personal relationships.
Ultimately, however, the new manager must figure out how to harness the power of a team. Simply focusing on one-on-one relationships with members of the team can undermine that process. During their first year on the job, many new managers fail to recognize, much less address, their team-building responsibilities.
Instead, they conceive of their people-management role as building the most effective relationships they can with each individual subordinate, erroneously equating the management of their team with managing the individuals on the team. They attend primarily to individual performance and pay little or no attention to team culture and performance.
They hardly ever rely on group forums for identifying and solving problems. Some spend too much time with a small number of trusted subordinates, often those who seem most supportive.
New managers tend to handle issues, even those with teamwide implications, one-on-one. This leads them to make decisions based on unnecessarily limited information.
In his first week as a sales manager at a Texas software company, Roger Collins was asked by a subordinate for an assigned parking spot that had just become available. He had been working on the assumption that if he could establish a good relationship with each person who reported to him, his whole team would function smoothly. What he learned was that supervising each individual was not the same as leading the team.
Grasping this notion can be especially difficult for up-and-comers who have been able to accomplish a great deal on their own.
When new managers focus solely on one-on-one relationships, they neglect a fundamental aspect of effective leadership: Like many managerial myths, this one is partly true but is misleading because it tells only some of the story.
Making sure an operation is operating smoothly is an incredibly difficult task, requiring a manager to keep countless balls in the air at all times. Often—and it comes as a surprise to most—this means challenging organizational processes or structures that exist above and beyond their area of formal authority. Only when they understand this part of the job will they begin to address seriously their leadership responsibilities.
Create the Conditions for Your Success. New managers often discover, belatedly, that they are expected to do more than just make sure their groups function smoothly today.
They must also recommend and initiate changes that will help their groups do even better in the future. He also presented a proposal to acquire a new information system that could allow his team to optimize its marketing initiatives. When he could not persuade his boss to release more money, he hunkered down and focused on changes within his team that would make it as productive as possible under the circumstances.
Delhorne, shocked and hurt, thought the CEO was being grossly unfair. In fact, most new managers see themselves as targets of organizational change initiatives, implementing with their groups the changes ordered from above. Hierarchical thinking and their fixation on the authority that comes with being the boss lead them to define their responsibilities too narrowly.
But this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of their role within the organization. New managers need to generate changes, both within and outside their areas of responsibility, to ensure that their teams can succeed. They need to work to change the context in which their teams operate, ignoring their lack of formal authority. This broader view benefits the organization as well as the new manager. Organizations must continually revitalize and transform themselves.
They can meet these challenges only if they have cadres of effective leaders capable of both managing the complexity of the status quo and initiating change. But given the multilayered nature of their new responsibilities, they are still going to make mistakes as they try to put together the managerial puzzle—and making mistakes, no matter how important to the learning process, is no fun.
They are going to feel pain as their professional identities are stretched and reshaped. As they struggle to learn a new role, they will often feel isolated. Unfortunately, my research has shown that few new managers ask for help.
This is in part the outcome of yet another misconception: The insights a manager does possess come over time, through experience. And, as countless studies show, it is easier to learn on the job if you can draw on the support and assistance of peers and superiors. The same goes for sharing your problems with your superior. The inherent conflict between the roles of evaluator and developer is an age-old dilemma. So new managers need to be creative in finding support. For instance, they might seek out peers who are outside their region or function or in another organization altogether.
The problem with bosses, while difficult to solve neatly, can be alleviated. And herein lies a lesson not only for new managers but for experienced bosses, as well. The new manager avoids turning to her immediate superior for advice because she sees that person as a threat to, rather than an ally in, her development. As one new manager reports:. He would probably have some good advice. He may see that you are a little bit out of control, and then you really have a tough job.
Such fears are often justified. Many a new manager has regretted trying to establish a mentoring relationship with his boss. What on earth did you have in mind? This is a tragically lost opportunity for the new manager, the boss, and the organization as a whole. When a new manager can develop a good relationship with his boss, it can make all the difference in the world—though not necessarily in ways the new manager expects.
My research suggests that eventually about half of new managers turn to their bosses for assistance, often because of a looming crisis. Many are relieved to find their superiors more tolerant of their questions and mistakes than they had expected.
About half of new managers turn to their bosses for assistance. Sometimes, the most expert mentors can seem deceptively hands-off. One manager reports how she learned from an immediate superior: It was driving me nuts. When I asked her a question, she asked me a question. I got no answers. Then I saw what she wanted. I had to come in with some ideas about how I would handle the situation, and then she would talk about them with me. She would spend all the time in the world with me.
Linda A. January Issue Explore the Archive. Executive Summary Reprint: RD Even for the most gifted individuals, the process of becoming a leader is an arduous, albeit rewarding, journey of continuous learning and self-development. A version of this article appeared in the January issue of Harvard Business Review. Want to see the other articles in this list? Subscribe Now I'm already a subscriber. Sign In Forgot Password?