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From Bud To Boss

Author: Kevin Eikenberry & Guy Harris

Publisher: Jossey Bass

ISBN: Mick Yates

Summary:A great guide, especially for new leaders who need to make change in their organizations

Bud To Boss

ISBN 978-0470891551

Here's a very practical book, especially useful as you make the move from a team role to being the boss. First, a quote:

Moments of transition require us to wrestle with the frustrations of learning new ways of thinking and new skill sets. In the process of learning, we will, by definition, make mistakes. Mistakes, failures, and frustrations are a normal part of the learning process. None of us knows how to do something we have never done before until we try to do it. And then we cannot learn how to do it well until we make a few mistakes.

So how can newly minted Leaders step successfully into their new role? The book starts with a list of "What a Leader Does", which, whilst not rocket science, clearly defines the territory.

The Critical Components of Your Leadership Role

  • Helping people decide to change/make changes
  • Coaching team members
  • Delegating tasks
  • Getting things done / creating results
  • Inspiring people to action
  • Setting goals
  • Communicating up, down and across the organization
  • Developing others
  • Building a team
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Holding people accountable
  • When you boil it down, the two sides of a Leader's job are to make things happen (get the task done) and to inspire and grow the people by impacting the team members directly. And most importantly the Leader is all about making change happen - identifying the need for change, defining a burning platform, driving forward a plan and bringing people with them (and overcoming reluctance to change along the way).

    The book has lots of helpful ideas and stories which bring things alive. So, for example:

    "At some point, every leader in an organization will face a situation in which they need to communicate a decision that they do not fully understand or that challenges their personal perspective. When that time comes, engage in private dialogue and discussion with your leader as much as necessary to understand and accept the direction or decision before you say anything in public to your team."

    and another example:

    "Have experienced employees mentor and train junior employees. This task assignment shows your confidence and trust in the senior employee and it sets a positive example for the junior employee. In making this assignment, you grow your senior
    employee’s leadership abilities, free yourself for other tasks, and build cooperative relationships within your team.

    The authors move quickly beyond defining Leadership responsibilities into a practical guide to making change happen - Leadership and Change are synonymous. They set out a useful set of questions and ways to think about the issues.

    As a way to get started on the topic of change, let's do an exercise. First write down three situations in which you have experienced change. These can be organizational or personal; recent or distant in the past; big or small. While your transition to leadership may be an obvious one to think about, you can pick anything. There are no wrong answers. Write them down here as you think about them.

    1. __________________________________
    2. __________________________________

    Next, write down a list of words or phrases that you think about when you think about these particular events. Write down whatever comes to your mind. Do this quickly--the goal is to get something down, not to create the perfect or exhaustive list. Again, there are no wrong answers.

    __________________________   __________________________
    __________________________   __________________________

    Obviously we don't know exactly what you wrote down. But from our experiences in talking and working with people on change events and situations, we are very confident that the following are true:

    1. You have emotional words on your list. Not everything we think about in a change situation is logical and fact based. You are likely to have words such as painful, fear, scared, and exciting on your list.

    2. You have a mixed list of words. Although some of the words on your list may be neutral, most likely some of your words are positive in your mind while others are not so. And chances are you have more than a couple of positive, and more than a couple of negative.

    The book goes on to explain tools, processes and approaches which can help Leaders make things happen - making change permanent and motivating team members to play their part.

    All in all, and easy to read and very helpful book.

    I'm not sure that too much new ground is covered for "leadership experts". But the use of examples, references from the work of others and practical change frameworks help a new Leader better understand their role and then get the job done. It is a valuable volume.


    Kevin Eikenberry is a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband, and father (not necessarily in that order). Kevin is the chief potential officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group.

    Guy Harris draws on more than twenty-five years of combined professional and military experience when he consults, coaches, and trains in the areas of team and interaction dynamics, communication strategies and tactics, and emotional intelligence. Guy owns Principle Driven Consulting