I have found to be the best way to improve is to go back to basics.
Starting at the beginning and learning the basic techniques helps you plug holes in your knowledge and abilities.
Many times going back to the beginning has helped me improve the “weakest link in the chain” and identify what areas I need to delve deeper into.
This point was really pushed home recently when I took over as coach for our local baseball team. I started looking at my own technique and realized that I was making huge mistakes in the basic element, throwing the ball.
By practicing the movement step by step at its most basic level I have been able to increase the speed of my pitches to about 80 mph from 70 mph in just a few weeks (in Scandinavia that means I throw very hard ).
My goal when I bought the book from Bob Seldon about being the boss was to go back to the basics and improve my weakest link.
It was very basic
The book starts from the beginning and draws you through the steps of being a leader, a manager, managing your peers, employees, your boss, it also included a chapter on managing yourself.
He shares a lot of stories and examples which makes the information easy to grasp
Every chapter, every example starts with a story.
It makes it very easy to understand what he means. The stories are always very extreme examples, but that just helps drive the point home.
The advice you get is therefore very easy to put into practice and start using at once.
An annoying way to split up the book
The first part of the book is about “how to read it” they use a short questionnaire to let you figure out how you learn best.
With that knowledge different people are supposed to read the book differently.
The different breaks and summations made it very annoying to read, I ended up just reading it cover to cover. But kept getting extra and annoying summations that stopped the flow of the book.
A very good distinction between leader, manager and operator
My favorite part of the book was probably how he split the role of a boss into three parts and explained them.
Comes from peers and employees – no one other than the people you are supposed to lead can make you their leader.
Being a leader is about finding the path, setting the vision and helping others see it.
Comes from the organization – this is your title, the role you have been given and the authority the position gives you.
Managing is about optimizing the way you follow the path and moving towards the vision. It is about managing processes, about making things go as efficiently as possible.
There will always be tasks you need to do that don’t have to do with managing others and which can’t be delegated.
It can be performing tasks similar to your employees just at a higher more strategic level.
This is a part many try to forget as managers, but it is one of the most important parts if you are to show your colleagues that you also get “regular” work done.
I have added more reviews to my repertoire
The part I learned most from was using more regular reviews of my employees. I have always worked with performance reviews and have found them very useful. But in the book I got some very good advice and I have since added weekly reviews for my employees where I have them review themselves in their key result areas.
I do this by giving them a sheet of paper and having them rate themselves. I do not judge their decisions; I ask them questions about how we are going to improve areas, why they set a specific grade, what they need and so on.
I have noticed this gives them a great chance to give me feedback as well.
Manage your boss
If you can’t get things “Okayed” through your boss you will not get much done. If you aren’t on your boss’s good side, you will not be able to advance.
Managing your boss is an important part of being a manager.
3 tips to managing your boss:
1. Make sure you have them same expectations of you in your role.
If your manager expects you to work a lot with a specific activity it is important that you know that so that you can achieve the results they expect.
2. Asses how you like to work and how your boss likes to work.
Odds are that you aren’t exactly the same in your style, which is a good thing, but it is important that your styles don’t clash and cause troubles. Make sure you keep an open communication with your boss and that you do it in a fashion that you both are comfortable with.
3. Never hide a problem.
This might be a scary rule, but problems that aren’t dealt with usually grow and come back to bite you.
Be open with your boss, when you have a problem talk about it, get help and solve it together. Be prepared for the meeting though and have a possible solution to the problem already prepared. Show that you are capable of handling the situation but you want some input.
If you want to improve you role as a manager and become a better leader, read this book and you will find a lot of areas in which you can improve.
Get it here!