Becoming a Better Boss
Julian Birkinshaw
London Business School
December 4th 2013

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Who are you happiest with?
Friends

3.3

Parents/relatives

3.0

Spouse

2.8

My children

2.7

Co-workers

2.6

Clients/c...
Widespread cynicism about the quality of
management in large firms…

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
So what is good
management anyway?
Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
A brief exercise
Think back to the last piece of work you did
where you were fully engaged and highly
motivated:
What were...
What your employees need

What they often get

• Give them worthwhile
work to do

• Confusing or unclear
objectives

• Pro...
Google’s Project Oxygen
1. Be a good coach
2. Empower your team and don't micromanage
3. Express interest in team members'...
Why don’t we do
what we know we should?

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Discussion
If we know what “good management” looks like, why do we
struggle to do it consistently? And what techniques cou...
Is being a good manager
an “Unnatural Act”?

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
The way ahead

Becoming a Better Boss
Gain a fresh perspective

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Learn how to
see the world
through the
eyes of your
employees
Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Some tips for getting to know your
employees properly
•
•
•
•
•

Skip-level meetings
Web-enabled chat/discussion forums
Fr...
The way ahead

Becoming a Better Boss
Gain a fresh perspective
Understand your own biases

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 201...
What is stopping us from doing
what we know we should?

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Executives need to be in control

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
Executives are overconfident
What are the
chances (out of 10)
of your business
succeeding?

What are the chances
(out of 1...
A few tips and tricks
Seek advice from someone outside your
organisation
Develop compensating mechanisms to
address your s...
A few tips and tricks
Learn to let go- its not all about you

Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
A few tips and tricks
Package work into projects
“Gaudí gave artistic freedom to those
working alongside him. Even when he...
The way ahead

Becoming a Better Boss
Gain a fresh perspective
Understand your own biases

Take an experimental approach
C...
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Becoming a better boss

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Julian Birkinshaw shares his insights, tips and tricks on how to become a better boss.

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Becoming a better boss

  1. 1. Becoming a Better Boss Julian Birkinshaw London Business School December 4th 2013 Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  2. 2. Who are you happiest with? Friends 3.3 Parents/relatives 3.0 Spouse 2.8 My children 2.7 Co-workers 2.6 Clients/customers 2.4 Alone 2.2 Boss 2.0 (Rating is on a 1-5 scale) Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  3. 3. Widespread cynicism about the quality of management in large firms… Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  4. 4. So what is good management anyway? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  5. 5. A brief exercise Think back to the last piece of work you did where you were fully engaged and highly motivated: What were the key features of that project? Discuss in pairs, 60 seconds Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  6. 6. What your employees need What they often get • Give them worthwhile work to do • Confusing or unclear objectives • Provide them with space to find their own way • Micro-management and meddling • Provide support when it is needed • Lack of information, lack of concern • Given people recognition & praise • Limited feedback and little praise Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  7. 7. Google’s Project Oxygen 1. Be a good coach 2. Empower your team and don't micromanage 3. Express interest in team members' success and personal well-being 4. Don't be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented 5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team 6. Help your employees with career development 7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team 8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team. Adam Bryant, New York Times, March 12th 2011 Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  8. 8. Why don’t we do what we know we should? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  9. 9. Discussion If we know what “good management” looks like, why do we struggle to do it consistently? And what techniques could we put in place to help us? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  10. 10. Is being a good manager an “Unnatural Act”? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  11. 11. The way ahead Becoming a Better Boss Gain a fresh perspective Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  12. 12. Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  13. 13. Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  14. 14. Learn how to see the world through the eyes of your employees Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  15. 15. Some tips for getting to know your employees properly • • • • • Skip-level meetings Web-enabled chat/discussion forums Front-line work “Smokers corner” Reverse mentoring Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  16. 16. The way ahead Becoming a Better Boss Gain a fresh perspective Understand your own biases Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  17. 17. What is stopping us from doing what we know we should? Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  18. 18. Executives need to be in control Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  19. 19. Executives are overconfident What are the chances (out of 10) of your business succeeding? What are the chances (out of 10) of any business like yours succeeding? 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 10 20 30 0 10 20 30 40 10 8 6 4 2 0 40 Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  20. 20. A few tips and tricks Seek advice from someone outside your organisation Develop compensating mechanisms to address your shortcomings Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  21. 21. A few tips and tricks Learn to let go- its not all about you Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  22. 22. A few tips and tricks Package work into projects “Gaudí gave artistic freedom to those working alongside him. Even when he was in charge, there were 40 different sculptors working for him. Gaudi inspired them, intervened and commented on their work — but it remained the work of several different sculptors.” Jordi Bonet Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013
  23. 23. The way ahead Becoming a Better Boss Gain a fresh perspective Understand your own biases Take an experimental approach Copyright Julian Birkinshaw 2013

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