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It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming the Manager Your Employees Need Hardcover – March 13, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Tulgan, author and expert on Generation X workers (born between 1965 and 1977), considers what he calls the epidemic of "undermanagement" in corporate America--or, the failure of managers to take daily charge of the work environment and tell employees what to do and how to do it. He identifies seven big management myths, including there not being enough time to manage people; that to be fair, everyone should be treated the same; and the desire of managers to be "nice guys." Today's change in corporate culture from long-term employees working their way up the ranks to short-term workers in flattened organizations reporting to project managers who "empower" them leads to failure, because employees are not really free and managers are not trained. The author decries managers' lack of guidance, direction, feedback, and employee support, and he responds in this book with hands-on management advice that he clearly differentiates from micromanagement. The author tells us, "Taking the first step toward effective managing takes discipline and guts." An excellent book. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Hands on management advice . . . an excellent book. (Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management, The Wharton School)

“If you want to be successful, I strongly recommend you do it the ‘Tulgan way.’” (General Dennis J. Reimer (Ret.), Chief of Staff, United States Army (1995-1999))

“Bruce Tulgan makes it safe again to be a hands-on manager.” (Mike Archer, President of Applebee's Services, Inc.)

“Hands-on management advice . . . excellent.” (Booklist)

“Small business owners . . . will find [Tulgan’s] advice valuable.” (BusinessWeek SmallBiz)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; 1st edition (March 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061121363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061121364
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bruce Tulgan is internationally recognized as the leading expert on young people in the workplace and one of the leading experts on leadership and management. Bruce is a best-selling author, an adviser to business leaders all over the world, and a sought-after keynote speaker and management trainer.

Since 1995, Bruce has worked with tens of thousands of leaders and managers in hundreds of organizations ranging from Aetna to Wal-Mart; from the Army to the YMCA. He has been called "the new Tom Peters" by many who have seen him speak. In recent years, Bruce was named by Management Today as one of the few contemporary figures to stand out as a "management guru" and he was named to the 2009 Thinkers 50 rising star list (the Thinkers 50 is the definitive global ranking of the world's top 50 business thinkers). And on August 13, 2009, Bruce was honored to accept Toastmasters International's most prestigious honor, the Golden Gavel. This honor is annually presented to a single person who represents excellence in the fields of communication and leadership. Past winners have included Marcus Buckingham, Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Ken Blanchard, Tom Peters, Art Linkletter, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Walter Cronkite.

Bruce's forthcoming book BRIDGING THE SOFT SKILLS GAP: TEACHING THE MISSING BASICS TO TODAY'S YOUNG TALENT (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2015) will be published in September. He is also the author of THE 27 CHALLENGES MANAGERS FACE (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2014), the best-seller IT'S OKAY TO BE THE BOSS (HarperCollins, 2007) and the classic MANAGING GENERATION X (W.W. Norton, 2000; first published in 1995). Bruce's other books include WINNING THE TALENT WARS (W.W. Norton, 2001), which received widespread acclaim from Fortune 500 CEOs and business journalists; the best-seller FAST FEEDBACK (HRD Press, 1998); NOT EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY: HOW TO MANAGE GENERATION Y (Jossey-Bass, 2009); MANAGING THE GENERATION MIX (HRD Press, 2006); and IT'S OKAY TO MANAGE YOUR BOSS (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Many of Bruce's works have been published around the world in foreign editions.

Bruce's writing appears regularly in human resources, staffing and management journals, including a regular column in TRAINING magazine called 'Sticky Notes' and a regular column in the Huffington Post. His writing has also appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers such as the Harvard Business Review, BusinessWeek, HR Magazine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. As well, his work has been the subject of thousands of news stories around the world.

Before founding RainmakerThinking in 1993, Bruce practiced law at the Wall Street firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn. He graduated with high honors from Amherst College, received his law degree from the New York University School of Law, and is still a member of the Bar in Massachusetts and New York. Bruce continues his lifelong study of Okinawan Uechi Ryu Karate Do and holds a fifth degree black belt. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Debby Applegate, Ph.D., who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for her book THE MOST FAMOUS MAN IN AMERICA: THE BIOGRAPHY OF HENRY WARD BEECHER (Doubleday, 2006).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was attracted by the very direct title, and the book delivered. It is specific, detailed, and honest. I particularly appreciated Tulgan's warning that becoming a better manager is like starting a fitness program. I'd rather it wasn't hard, time consuming, and something that requires daily discipline, but I like that he's up front about it. And that his book has so many specific things to do, answers to objections, and reasons it's worth it.
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Format: Hardcover
In my many years in the workforce, I've seen just about every half-baked management fad that's come down the pike. Most of them leave the manager confused and the "managee" feeling patronized or worse. Almost all get dumped sooner rather than later.

Thanks to this book I can finally put my finger on what's wrong with these fads - they are simply elaborate excuses to avoid the actual hard work of management by wallowing in pop psychologoy or meaningless "metrics". There is no getting away from the fact that the manager's job is to set very definite expectations for his/her direct reports, communicate them clearly, track them diligently, and reward or discipline the worker accordingly. Tulgan makes it clear that good management takes effort but the rewards are great - a better and more honest relationship with your direct reports, better morale and better productivity.

Read this book if you have anyone reporting to you. And if not, buy it for your boss!
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Format: Hardcover
A short time ago, I worked for a small-sized company with somewhat oversized ambitions, but I could never pinpoint why I felt the business's ambitions were out of synch with its practices. I happened to pick up Bruce Tulgan's book, It's Okay to Be the Boss, and after just the first few pages, I knew under-management was the culprit I couldn't name. Tulgan has aptly christened an unfortunate corporate ailment. His book is a meaningful attempt to "lift the lid" and expose the sorry state of today's management, while providing the necessary course corrections. He emphasizes daily interaction; establishing methods for accountability; and clarity, clarity, clarity.

The book has several strengths:
1. Instinctual, but not impulsive. Tulgan's message resonates in an intuitive way - "Yes! It is okay for me to be the boss!" and "Indeed, it will be hard work, but it will be worthwhile." His message cuts through the daily noise and excuses to plainly remind managers of their primary, even sacred duty: get people to work at their best (very hard, very fast) all day long. Yet his book does not "rush in" - he is pragmatic and reasonable. Tulgan does not hype absurd or pointless tricks. He is not about cutting corners.
2. Immediately actionable. Do not be surprised if you feel the urge to implement these techniques as soon as possible - in fact, it is likely that you'll be tempted to put the book down half-way through and announce "Great news, I'm the boss! And I'm going to do my best to be a great one!" His strategies are simple and straightforward. You can begin managing with these techniques immediately (like holding your first 15 minute standing meeting) - there is no need to meditate heavily or layout a long-range vision.
3. Realistic. Tulgan does not pad the landing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bruce Tulgan's "It's OK to Be the Boss" is one of the toughest books I've ever read/reviewed. His premise, like most of his previous work, is dead on accurate. When I saw somebody willing to say there's a crisis of "undermanagement," I was thrilled. So I'd give the book a five on promise - and some of that is fulfilled. But unfortunately, the execution is a -4 so the rating ends up as only one star. I think he could have made most of his good points without the pieces that ultimately will only confuse managers - and in many cases give them excuses for not doing the very things Tulgan's arguing must be done.

It starts early with Tulgan's criticism of the work from Blanchard, Buckingham, and even a backhand compliment of Adler's hiring formula. What's particularly misleading, no matter how much Tulgan might deny it, is that it is obvious he has never read the works he criticizing. Blanchard has been making it very clear for decades that the "One Minute Manager" takes more than a minute; Buckingham makes it even clearer that the steps in "First, Break All the Rules" are not just empowerment and require the very detailed regular attention to the very detail that Tulgan calls for. Buckingham's most recent works on a "strengths-based" approach is backed by solid research - not just anecdotal evidence Tulgan cites. He even misinterprets the classic Theory X - Theory Y, not knowing that McGregor clearly stated that a Theory Y Manager recognized the existence of Theory X assumptions about some employees (in 1960 estimated at 35% of the workforce).
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Format: Hardcover
If you're like me, someone needing to get better at management but with little formal training, this book is definately for you. It really separates myths from reality and let's us know that what most of us think is "common business knowledge" quite often turns out to either flawed or just plain incorrect. I also like that Bruce is very upfront. He's tells the reader straight away that managing is not simple, not easy and improving at it won't happen overnight but that with effort and hard work we can improve.
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