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Becoming a better boss


Published: Oct 30, 2013

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Does your boss seem to have developed his management style by watching the U.K./U.S. comedy TV show “The Office”?  If so, you could do worse than subtly recommend the new book “Becoming a Better Boss”, or hope someone buys it for your manager at Christmas.

According to the author, Julian Birkinshaw, professor of strategic and international management at London Business School, what employees want is challenging work, support and recognition.  However, many managers feel they are too busy, have conflicting priorities or become so apathetic towards employees’ varying needs that they forget the importance of giving their staff coaching or providing proper feedback.  Most of us would have experienced our fair share of megalomaniac-managers, lunatic-leaders or blustering-bosses, and to avoid such pitfalls you need to develop self-awareness and adopt three principles to help you change your behavior to become a good leader.

• This first includes the ability to let go and give power and freedom to others.  Examples include: Developing practice that highlights your organization’s commitment, transparency and employee involvement, such as working groups to solve problems and the delegation of appropriate management tasks.

• The second principle of good management is to give credit to others and spend time on mentoring and supporting activities.  The aim is to achieve improved performance all round, for a better Bahamian business.

• The third principle is self-control or the ability to regulate your own emotions and instincts.  There are times when a 'gut' decision is better than the one reached through careful analysis, but we must also avoid letting our management habits take over and think we always know best.  As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com explains, “the most junior person in the company can win an argument with the most senior person with a fact-based decision.”

Financial pressures, market demands, increased competition, lack of time and reducing resources are only part of the story.  We have to work very hard to overcome our need for control and be self-aware to realize when our behavioral flaws are getting in the way of improving staff performance and organizational profitability.

Unfortunately, “Becoming a Better (Bahamian) Boss” offers no simple solutions, but there are some useful tips, tricks and tools to help you avoid becoming a managerial monster.

• “Becoming a Better Boss: Why good management is so difficult” by Julian Birkinshaw and published by Jossey-Bass.

• Keith Appleton JP, BA (Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within an academic, managerial and strategic leadership role.  He is a member of the U.K. Institute of Leadership & Management and can be contacted at KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk or follow him at twitter.com/WritingRightNow.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 11:49

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