Would you like to be a Great Manager?
Are you a new manager in an entrepreneurial company or startup? Are you a parent, organizational leader, or coach? If so, this new book by Gary Magenta offers 12 Powerful Questions to help turn traditional manager/employee relationships into something greater and more powerful. By following Gary’s recommendations, you can become a Great Manager. Read on as I interview Gary about his new book and how it can benefit you…
Q. What inspired you to write The Un-Bossy Boss: 12 Powerful Questions to Make You a Great Manager?
A. What inspired me is a recognition that managers need to change the way they engage employees in order to change business results. What we find in businesses today is that organizations have complex strategies they need to deploy. Managers are responsible for engaging and connecting their employees to that strategy. The problem is that many of them are failing to do so, and it’s not their fault. They don’t have the necessary skills or capability to coach their employees to success. In fact, many managers are still in the “yell and tell” mode instead of asking questions and engaging their employees to co-create solutions.
Q. Great, thanks. Please tell us a little bit about your background and what you are currently doing.
A. I was an entrepreneur before I worked in corporate America and I never had a true manager until my early 30s. I had never given managers much thought at all until I encountered my first one, and my experience was not good. My first manager had no interest in my career, my growth, or making any effort to connect with me. Our work relationship consisted of the manager telling me every couple of months what he wanted me to do and then never checking back. As I was experiencing my first manager, I realized this did not feel right – this was not what a manager is supposed to do. Through that experience I realized what type of manager I had been when I was an entrepreneur and what type of manager I wanted to be moving forward. In the many years since then, I have been managed by a number of great people as well as managed many others. I have spent over a decade at Root Inc., a consulting firm that helps organizations better engage their people, focusing most of my time working with leaders of some of the biggest brands and corporations across the country. One of my main objectives has been to shine a spotlight on the importance of managers within the corporate structure – specifically through a manager training program I spearheaded called Compass. By stepping inside these organizations and working with top executives, I can show them how to better set up their managers and their employees for success.
Q. Delving into your book now, who would benefit most from The Un-Bossy Boss?
A. The primary audience for “The Un-Bossy Boss” is managers of people in any industry. That being said, I believe this is a great book for anyone, whether you’re a parent, a manager, an organizational leader, or a coach. The book works anywhere you’re trying to build better working relationships – whether in your work or personal life. To quote my neighbor, “If I had had this when my kids were young, there could have been a lot less fighting.”
Q. What makes your book different from other books that cover this same topic?
A. What makes this book different is that it offers a unique coaching model that can change the way managers engage their employees and ultimately the dynamics of the relationships they have with their employees. It helps them move that relationship from a “manager being problem solver/order giver/director” to “arming a manager with the capability to bring their employees into a problem-solving equation by asking the right questions.” The book helps managers bring employees along as a partner in problem solving and finding new opportunities. Additionally, this book is different because it’s very actionable. It is a “how to” for managers to build the skill and capability to engage employees in a new way – moving from telling them what to do to asking them powerful questions that make them part of the solution.
Q. What are the most important elements, messages, or takeaways of your book that you’d like readers to know they will benefit from?
A. The book is a practical guide for readers to help them become Great Managers, transitioning them from manager to coach! It gives them tools and an actual set of questions they can incorporate into their everyday conversations with employees that will improve employee results – whatever that means to them (results mean something different to everyone). The heart of the book resides in 12 powerful questions that will help make readers great coaches, which in turn will make them Great Managers. The questions help address a variety of topics including how to work with underperforming employees, difficult individuals, and disengaged team members. The lessons presented in this book will enable managers to help find the untapped potential in their employees.
Q. What are the major sections?
A. The book hits the ground running with a narrative on the difference between an average manager and a Great Manager and why organizations need Great Managers to succeed. We show how a manager can become great by becoming a coach to their employees, not just someone who yells orders and tells their employees what to do. We outline the 12 powerful questions within a simple coaching model called ASK. These questions will align a manager and employee on what’s most important to focus on, help a manager understand their employee’s perspective, and create shifts in actions and behaviors to deliver improved results. The book uses stories, humor, and real-life examples to convey key lessons and engage the reader, and I provide a workbook section for each chapter where the reader can plan and practice for their conversations with employees.
Q. What is the best piece of advice for an entrepreneur you’ve ever received?
- Do what you love.
- Hang out with successful people if you want to be successful.
- Have a good business mentor.
Q. Give us an interesting fun fact about your book or the research you conducted for your book.
A. As part of my research, I asked managers why they don’t regularly engage their employees. The #1 answer was, “I don’t have the time.” When asked what else was an issue, they said, “I don’t know what to say.” I then asked them whether they would find the time to engage with their employees if they knew what to say, and the response was an overwhelming “Yes.” This book actually helps managers know what to say.
Q. Where can people find out more about you and/or your book?
Q. What else would you like to add about your book?
A. Managers are ultimately the group most responsible for the success or failure of an organization – not the leadership team. As a manager, you have more impact on the organization than any other group. And despite how critical managers are to business success, they remain the most under-invested segment. This book is essential to better enable managers to deliver business results through their teams and every individual that reports to them.
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