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What to Do When You Become the Boss: How New Managers Become Successful Managers Hardcover – November 15, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


An excellent book that does what it says on the tin: helping new managers become successful managers.  ChangingMinds.org

Makes a useful addition to a new manager's library - don't keep it on your desk. The first rule of management may well be "don't let others know that you're not sure about what you're doing" Australian Financial Review, Boss Magazine

Not written in standard management speak. It should be assigned reading for anyone in business school or for those who work within a large corporation. I strongly recommend this book - you and your career will thank me. Greatnewbooks.org

Bookshelves are crammed with non-academic "how to" guides for new and aspiring managers. What distinguishes this book from all the others? Selden's guide for new managers deserves attention for all the right reasons. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology

Bob's book enables managers to access his many years of experience and accumulated wisdom and put it to good use straightaway. Rich with case studies, warnings, distilled knowledge and common sense, this book is an essential aide to anyone venturing into this territory for the first time. There is no other book like it! G. Michelli Management Coach

From the Publisher

Internationally known Australian organisational consultant Bob Selden, who is now based in Switzerland, has finally put all his great management tips and techniques into print. Bob's been a first level supervisor, line manager and senior manager in three financial organisations. So when it comes to knowing something about management, there probably aren't too many more experienced. He's also consulted to organisations from most industries on five different continents.

"What To Do When You Become The Boss" is a very practical "how to" for new managers. In fact it's probably a must read for all managers, not just new ones, as the topics include most, if not all aspects of management (including an interesting chapter on "How to select your new boss").

Whilst it's written specifically for new managers, the "How to implement the ideas in this chapter" sections at the end of each chapter, can be:
* adapted for use by trainers and consultants to use with a wide variety of people development activities.
* used by managers of managers as an ideal way of training and coaching their new manager

Chapters 1 & 2 would make excellent pre-reading for any management development program. For example, the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney will be using the book as pre-reading for some of their external development programs.

Strongly recommended for all new managers, managers of managers and training consultants involved in the development of people skills.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432709593
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432709594
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,442,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I call myself a student of behaviour. I believe that the words and language we use not only impact our relationships with others, but also the way in which we behave. Recent research tends to support this belief. For example, studies at the Universities of Heidelberg, Neuchatel and Zurich (2007) show that when young male drivers hear male type words (such as "tough" and "rough") they automatically increase their speed, whilst hearing female type words (such as "pink" and "gentle") leads to a reduction in their speed. My question, "Can the words a manager uses also impact both his or her people relationships and behaviour?"

As an author on management, I have not only studied the subject, but have lived the role. I survived my first new manager's role in banking to eventually develop into a senior manager responsible for the career development of hundreds of other managers. During this growing process, and later as an organisational development consultant, trainer and coach, I learnt what works and what doesn't work when managing others. So, I've recently published a new book "What To Do When You Become The Boss" which is a result of this learning. My determination is to help other new managers during their initial growth spurt.

I'm an Australian currently living in Liestal, Switzerland. As well as consulting to various organisations on five continents, I coach on the Mobilizing People program at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. I also facilitate on programs such as the Middle Manager Development program at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia.

I'm married with three children. I'm a keen cyclist and love getting out and about in the hills of Switzerland.

I'd like to challenge some of your thinking on leadership and management development and would appreciate your feedback - please contact me at www.nationallearning.com.au or www.whenyoubecometheboss.com

My book "What To Do When You Become The Boss" was a finalist in the INDIE Book Awards of 2008. Recently, Business Executive Magazine described it as "One of the best books on management that we have seen in a long time."

I look forward to your comments, reviews and questions.

Bob Selden

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Management books are commonplace and most everyone who works in the managerial realm has read at least one book on the subject. Unfortunately for the inspiration- seeking manager, books that deal with management are often dull and sleep- inducing. But to every rule there is an exception and "What to Do When You Become the Boss" is certainly one of them. This management book is different in many ways from the typical management book, both in organization and in content. Starting with an introduction that includes a self- assessment of management style, What to Do When You Become the Boss is a proactive book from beginning to end. This book's goal isn't to explain theories of management. It focuses instead on taking action; implementing change, improving organization, and formulating a strategy that will help a manager achieve his/her greatest potential.

As mentioned before, the introduction of this book includes a self- assessment test that is intended to help the manager find which of four categories- Activist, Reflector, Theorist, or Pragmatist- his/her style of learning/managing matches most closely. Once the personal style is known, the reader is prepared to read and learn. To help make the book more useful to readers and to help managers concentrate on the material with the greatest relevance, there are directions (starting in Part 2) that recommend turning directly to a particular chapter, based on which of the four styles the reader fits. By following these directions, a manager can bypass the less relevant information and proceed to the material that pertains specifically to them.

Even though I fit the definition of a pragmatist, I decided to read the entire book to see what it had to offer and discover how it could help me as a manager.
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Format: Paperback
As a business coach, WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU BECOME THE BOSS by Bob Selden, is a book I will reference often. I found several really powerful ideas for more effective leadership and management.

Selden opens his work with a way for the reader to determine their best methods of study. I found myself to be equal parts Activist and Protagonist and followed the direction of study as indicated, which means I skipped over a few parts here and there. In time, I will probably read the entire text.

Throughout the text, Seldon varies his approach, recognizing the differences in management styles. This is a refreshing variation from the normal "one size fits all" we find in so many management and leadership books. I guess the thing that impressed me the most with this book is the amount of fresh ideas.

Don't get me wrong. You will find a few things you've heard before in one way or another, but you'll also find ideas that will definitely make you alter your approach. Overall, a good book for any level of management. Easy to comprehend and covers a lot of territory.
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Format: Paperback
I liked this book. It is full of good content, well written, and outlined pretty well. It is definitely a book I would recommend to someone who is going to be responsible for extracting maximum value from his or her subordinates whether they are in a small company or a huge company. I typically read books that can or will make a positive impact on wanta-be entrepreneurs or small business owners, and this book is no different. A small business owner should read this book to help improve his or her skills as a manager.

This book starts off explaining the difference between being a leader and a being a manager. I'm not sure it was necessary to devote two chapters to adequately explain the difference. The book is about managing - not about leading. Then we are told about the ins and outs of managing a team or subordinates. We hear about how to motivate, critique, coach, and unload or fire people. For me, this was the best part of the book.

I think I would have liked the book better if Part V (Managing Yourself) had started the book off followed by Part II (Managing Your Team). I would have merged Part IV (Managing Your Meetings) into the Managing Your Team section because you have to have meetings if your are managing a team. And Part III would have concluded the book. In my humble opinion, Part I (Leading and Managing) could be eliminated. Or it could be included as an appendix.

I would have liked the book better if the Introduction had actually introduced me to the book instead of discussing "learning styles." Generally, I like to read a book my way. I don't like to be told how to read a book. And I don't like to categorize myself, i.e., activist, reflector, theorist, or pragmatist. In fact, I am all of these depending on the mood I find myself.
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Format: Paperback
What To Do when You Become the Boss by Bob Selden is a practical, step by step guide on how to survive the transition from employee to someone others report to. These types of books by their nature often have to make assumptions about your learning style and the situation you're in. Bob really does go above and beyond by trying to have his book meet all needs. To begin with, he has you determine if you are an activist, pragmatist, theorist or reflective learning style. He then gives you a step by step guide on how to "hop chapters" to find the information you most need.

I admit that I would find it very hard to jump around - I wanted to start from the beginning and read through chapter by chapter. But maybe that's just an indication of my personal style. Maybe someone else would really enjoy the chapter leaping :)

Bob says that you need to balance leading, managing and operating. Leaders don't just "happen" - they need to be *chosen*. I.e. if your followers are unwilling to follow you, then you really aren't a leader. A leader needs to help his followers understand their tasks, provide direction provide belief in what they're doing and help enable them. Bob also comments that leading is path finding, while managing is path minding.

Bob talks about these generalities - but he also gets down to specifics as well to help you in each area. He recommends you find concrete, specific things to praise your employees for - they appreciate this much more than one might imagine. Also, when discussing problems, avoid the word "but". Also avoid the word "you". Phrase things with "I" - such as "I was disappointed in the quarterly report, and I think together we can find a way to improve this." Always discuss the ACTION that needs to be fixed - not the person.
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