by Bruce Tulgan

Too many of today's supervisors, managers, and leaders are failing their staff and their organizations by "undermanaging." Falling victim to the empowerment craze of the last decade, they seem to have forgotten what it means to be the boss and are chronically undermanaging their employees. They do not take charge on the day-to-day business basics. They don't spell out expectations. They don't keep track of performance measurements. They don't correct mistakes or reward success.

Bruce Tulgan's message, "It's okay to be the boss," addresses the biggest problem in most workplaces - an under management epidemic affecting managers at all levels of the organization and in all industries. It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Management Workshop is a workshop that provides clear, step-by-step "back to basics" guidance for helping people in supervisory roles become the strong, highly engaged managers who know how to position their employees for success. 

The one-day workshop explains eight back-to-basics techniques that clearly show how managers at all levels can become capable and highly-engaged and develop the confidence and skills to: 

  • Manage everyday and conduct effective regular one-one-ones with direct reports and others
  • Talk like a performance coach and communicate clearly and effectively
  • Work effectively with each direct report individually and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses
  • Create an environment that holds employees accountable
  • Make expectations of employees clear by telling people what to do and how to do it
  • Monitor, measure, and document employee performance
  • Solve small problems before they become big problems
  • Tie rewards to performance

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of being a strong, highly engaged manager
  • Learn the difference between obstacles that can be controlled - and those that cannot
  • Discover strategies for working around obstacles that cannot be controlled
  • Learn and practice eight back-to-basics techniques for helping their employees succeed
  • Develop and action plan for applying the eight techniques in carrying out their daily management responsibilities

Theory and Development 

Author Bruce Tulgan has been researching the dynamics of supervisory relationships since 1993. Based on his findings, he narrowed his focus supervisors who "under manage" their direct reports. He began to investigate this "under-management" condition as a "disease" afflicting the workplace. 

Specifically, Bruce defines under-management as a condition in which a leader with supervisory authority fails to provide his or her direct reports with any of the following "Five Management Basics": 

  1. Clear statements of performance requirements and standard operating procedures related to recurring tasks and responsibilities.
  2. Clear statements of defined parameters, measurable goals, and concrete deadlines for all work assignments for which the direct report will be held accountable.
  3. Accurate monitoring, evaluation, and documentation of work performance.
  4. Clear statements of specific feedback on work performance with guidance for improvement.
  5. Rewards and detriments distributed fairly.

After much research and direct evaluations of more than 500 participants, Tulgan's research indicates the following: 

  • Under-management is a workplace disease of epidemic proportions.
  • The impact of under-management is harmful and costly.
  • There are four leading causes of individual infection.
  • Environmental factors support the spread of the disease.
  • The small percentage of managers who are hands-on tend to follow several or more of a series of best practices.

Uses for the Programme

It's Okay to Be the Boss: The Management Workshop is designed for anyone in a managerial or supervisory role who is concerned about retaining valuable employees and helping them work more productively. Although the primary audience is mid-level managers with some experience, the workshop can also be conducted for people who are new to managing and for senior-level people who manage other managers.

The ideal size for this workshop is forty participants, and the minimum recommended size is twenty. During the programme, participants work together in table teams of four to six, with team leaders chosen by the groups. 

How It Works

Facilitator Guide Set

The set includes a comprehensive, fully scripted Facilitator Guide, a sample Participant Workbook, and a flash drive containing short instructional videos, PowerPoint slides, and support materials. While It's Okay to Be the Boss is considered ready-to-use, there are ample opportunities for trainers to customize the programme to meet specific objectives. 

Participant Workbook

Supervisors will appreciate the accompanying Participant Workbook. It is an excellent takeaway that includes a skills-based self assessment, development worksheets and strategies, and a customizable action plan for personal growth. 

What to Order 

You will need to order a Facilitator Guide per trainer, plus one Participant Workbook for each individual learner. 

Each time you administer the simulation, you will need to order a new Participant Workbook for each individual. Additional Facilitator Guides are also available for individual purchase if you have additional trainers or require a new copy. 

TYPE: Instructor-led Programme

TIME: One day

AUTHOR: Bruce Tulgan