Author Topic: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss  (Read 4746 times)

LadyStache in Baja

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Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« on: October 17, 2015, 10:32:19 AM »
I have a very small team, 3 employees.  I'm an entrepreneur who started my business doing all the work, and now I find myself with 3 subordinates. 

Any advice for not being a shitty boss?  I fear I'm the "friendly boss" type who doesn't do a good job of setting expectations and rules. 

Another thing I find difficult is working with people who are so much poorer than myself, and profiting off of their labor!  Any advice?  I'd like to set up some sort of profit-sharing scheme. 

I'm part of a 4-person partnership, so I don't have complete freedom, but I handle all the day-to-day oversight.

kyliec

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2015, 03:35:59 PM »
Hi, and good luck in your venture.

I really love a few resources
Managertools.com website - lots and lots of podcasts on management topics
askamanager.com - blog / advice column

Books:
"Not everyone gets a trophy- how to manage gen y" and "It's ok to be the boss" both by Bruce Tulgan
"The no asshole rule" Bob Sutton

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2015, 03:47:34 PM »
Drive by Daniel Pink has some really good stuff about how not to accidentally dis-motivate your employees.

I'm also a big fan of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Disclaimer: My supervisory experience is limited to a few months looking after student assistants, but I was a teacher for several years and boy, was I terrible.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2015, 03:58:28 PM »
This isn't specifically about being a boss, but has a lot of examples from that area: How to Win Friends and Influence People. I haven't even finished it yet, but I already wish I had read it before being a manager. Lots of great advice for both life and work.

Adventine

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2015, 04:53:12 PM »
AskAManager.com gives some really good advice on how to set boundaries and expectations, mostly from an employee's point of view, but sometimes from a boss' perspective too.

csprof

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2015, 05:19:03 PM »
A very odd-duck recommendation that I've found very useful:  "Honey, I wrecked the kids".

It's officially a book about dealing with kids.  But, in reality, it's about managing relationships and setting boundaries and expectations, and how to handle things like figuring out when (employees, kids) need more autonomy, etc.

(I first heard this recommendation on boingboing, bought it for that reason, and then found it equally useful when we had a kid. :)

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2015, 08:15:51 PM »
Perfect!  Thanks everyone, I can't wait to get started reading!

alpharomeo

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2015, 11:20:14 PM »
I found a new podcast called "Creating Disney Magic" which I have found to be very good for leadership/management.  It is hosted by a guy named Lee Cockrell(sp?) who oversaw operations and Walt Disney World and thousands of employees.  The episodes are short and easy to listen to.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2015, 05:37:40 AM »
I'd second the idea of reading parenting books about setting boundaries. It's all the same thing - relationships and reasonable authority.

Make reasonable rules, inform people of the rules and consequences ahead of time and apply them consistently and fairly.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2015, 08:10:30 AM »
shelivesthedream, lol that is why I am also a terrible parent!  When it comes to enforcing rules, I tend to apply the golden rule and think, oh, well everyone gets a second (third, fourth, millionth) chance. 

I'll remember to "apply the consequences consistently and fairly". 

Mind you, as a parent, I am getting better.  But I have to constantly remind myself to stick to whatever the consequence is, it doesnt come naturally (like it does for my husband, who is also a stellar boss).

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2015, 09:13:32 AM »
shelivesthedream, lol that is why I am also a terrible parent!  When it comes to enforcing rules, I tend to apply the golden rule and think, oh, well everyone gets a second (third, fourth, millionth) chance. 

I'll remember to "apply the consequences consistently and fairly". 

Mind you, as a parent, I am getting better.  But I have to constantly remind myself to stick to whatever the consequence is, it doesnt come naturally (like it does for my husband, who is also a stellar boss).

I don't think you necessarily have to PUNISH per se to be a good parent. I was terrible about giving time-outs, so I have stopped trying. I read Ain't Misbehavin'--it's by the same author as Honey, I Wrecked the Kids--and it gave me a lot of great ideas. Basically, you ALWAYS give a choice. Even if the choice is, "Can you hand that to Mommy or does Mommy need to use force?" before you pry their fingers off the can opener or whatever. I have found it particularly magical for our end-of-TV-time trauma. "Do you want to turn off the TV, or should Mommy do it?" They always choose to turn it off themselves, and then they happily move on.

I was simultaneously too uptight (wanting to control too much) and too lax (not imposing consequences). That book in particular really helped me!

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry are two more parenting books that are very helpful for relating to adults as well.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2015, 03:52:29 PM »
shelivesthedream, lol that is why I am also a terrible parent!  When it comes to enforcing rules, I tend to apply the golden rule and think, oh, well everyone gets a second (third, fourth, millionth) chance. 

I'll remember to "apply the consequences consistently and fairly". 

Mind you, as a parent, I am getting better.  But I have to constantly remind myself to stick to whatever the consequence is, it doesnt come naturally (like it does for my husband, who is also a stellar boss).

Remember, though, that you get to set the consequences so you don't have to pick something you secretly think is harsh or unfair. They don't need to be massive consequences (for either managing or parenting!) - but not following through is asking for trouble. If you feel mean, downgrade your consequences until you know you'll be able to apply them every time.

Beardog

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2015, 04:44:52 PM »
I'm a new supervisor too, of 2.5 FTEs, so am facing a similar challenge.  To some extent, the motivation of your employees may play a factor in how you manage them.  The work group of which I am a member consists of a lot of highly motivated people.  I've noticed that our director is quick to praise people, but doesn't need to tell people when they've screwed up because we all try pretty hard and I think he knows that we feel bad enough about any occasional lapses without him coming down on us.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2015, 09:29:37 PM »
I'm a new supervisor too, of 2.5 FTEs, so am facing a similar challenge.  To some extent, the motivation of your employees may play a factor in how you manage them.  The work group of which I am a member consists of a lot of highly motivated people.  I've noticed that our director is quick to praise people, but doesn't need to tell people when they've screwed up because we all try pretty hard and I think he knows that we feel bad enough about any occasional lapses without him coming down on us.

Right. One thing in Ain't Misbehavin' was that the overuse of shame ("Look what you did!" Your brother's bleeding!" etc.) can actually short-circuit a person's own natural remorse.

Axecleaver

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 09:38:17 AM »
Oh boy, this is the thread for me! I managed a 110 FTE team for a Fortune 500 for seven years. Learned a lot and read a ton of business books during my time there.

My top recommendation is Patrick Lencioni's books. They are all written as parables, which are easier to absorb. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, and Getting Naked: A Business Fable about Shedding the Fears that Sabotage Client Loyalty are tops. I also liked The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

I like Dan Pink and Seth Godin, especially for "new economy" type problems.
Peter Drucker's books are classic and timeless, as insightful today as they were in the 50's: The Practice of Management
Jim Collins's _Good to Great_ and _Built to Last._ He researches the crap out of his books and the finished product is superb.
_The Art of the Start_, Guy Kawasaki
_Flow_, by some guy with a 25 letter complicated last name that starts with C.
Malcolm Gladwell's books, like _Blink_, which teach us a lot about motivation and human nature.
John Maxwell's _21 Laws of Leadership_


LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2015, 06:47:22 AM »
Just finished "its OK to be the boss" and loved it.  My big takeaway was that it's NOT fair to treat everyone the same because some people are high performers. When a low performer gets the same as a high performer it kills morale.  Oh and the other big advice was that under managing is an epidemic these days and that it's important to talk as often as possible about what my people are doing and how. I think morale has improved since I've started checking more.

Sent from my XT1021 using Tapatalk


FIREby35

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2015, 08:27:46 AM »
I've got a similar sized business with 4 employees plus myself and my wife. I love the book, "The Happiness Advantage."

http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Advantage-Principles-Performance/dp/0307591549

Good Luck!

lhamo

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Re: Advice and book recommendations for being a better boss
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2015, 09:05:38 AM »
Bob Sutton's "The No Asshole Rule" is great, as is his blog.  He came out with a newer book recently that I haven't read yet, but it is probably also good.

If you don't mind the occasional journeys into religiousity, Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership has some good stuff from a small business perspective.  The people interviewed on the Entreleadership podcast sometimes have interesting things to say, if you can manage to ignore the annoying host.