Q&A With Wally Bock: Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time

February 14, 2017
Mike Stallard

Wally Bock, a frequent contributor to ConnectionCulture.com and a leadership coach, recently published a new book titled Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time. Wally’s practical, effective advice always resonates with our readers and his book addresses common leadership challenges. 

Here’s what Wally had to say about his new book and favorite leadership tips: 

Q: Why do you use the term “boss?” Many people don’t like that term. 

A: I define a boss as a person who is responsible for the care and performance of a group. There are lots of people who exercise leadership without position, but the boss has the position and therefore no place to hide. He or she is responsible all the time and in every situation. 

Q: Who should read this book? 

A: This book is specifically for men and women who are responsible for the care and performance of a group. Sometimes that’s a permanent position with a title like “Team Leader” or “Supervisor” or “Crew Chief” or “Manager.” Sometimes it’s a temporary situation like a project manager. If you’ve got the job, this book is for you. 

Q: What’s in the book? 

A: There’s an introduction that summarizes what I’ve learned about being an effective boss over the decades I’ve been practicing, researching, teaching, and coaching. It should take about five minutes to read. 

There are 347 total tips. Twenty-eight of them are about personal development. Eighteen are for specific situations. The rest are about everything else a boss does, things like making meetings more effective, working with your boss, having performance conversations, problem solving, and more. 

This is all field-tested stuff. I’ve learned from studying working bosses and picking up ideas. I’ve tried them out. I’ve suggested them to other bosses and gotten feedback and some of those bosses told me about things that worked for them. 

Q: Why tips? 

A: I think that development is about getting a little bit better every day. Tips make that easy. You can pick something to work on today and something else tomorrow. Or you can zero in on a subject, like better performance management, and use tips to guide your learning. If you’re in a tight spot, you can get some ideas that may help. And, certainly, if you’re participating in a training program or getting some coaching, you can use some tips to make that experience more potent. 

Q: What’s one of the most valuable leadership tips that you have received? 

A: This one’s not in the book, but it’s part of the inspiration for the book. I’ve always been in a hurry and, especially early in my life, I wanted to get to the top of the mountain right away. It was my mother who told me: “You don’t have to get there all at once, but you do have to keep getting better.” I still struggle with that but it’s some of the best advice I’ve received. 

Here’s one more bit of mom wisdom that I try to use every day. Whatever happened to her, including cancer, she always asked: “What good can we make of this?” 

Q: What’s an area that you see a lot of today’s bosses struggle with? 

A: For thirty years I asked the participants in supervisory skills classes what their biggest challenges were. There were two items that topped the list in every class. One was dealing with their boss and the other was having conversations about (usually poor) performance with their team members. 

Q: How can readers get a copy of Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time? 

A: Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time costs $9.99 (that’s less than 3 cents per tip). There are two bonuses that you get free. One is a Forms Packet with several forms that will help you sort out problems, keep records, and improve your performance conversations with teammates. And, I love this, there’s a collection of tips from Leadership Experts like you. There’s more than twenty of them, and you won’t find the collection anywhere else. 

Learn more about Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time and check out more great content from Wally Bock below. 

More from Wally Bock

What Happens When the Annual Performance Appraisal Goes Away?

Becoming a Great Boss: Where to Start

How to Talk to Team Members About Performance

In addition to writing the Three Star Leadership blog, Wally Bock is an author, ghostwriter, writing coach and book doctor. In his past lives he has run a small publishing company, been a popular keynote speaker to audiences around the world, and served as a U. S. Marine. He loves good beer, good friends, and good stories.

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