From Bud to Boss: Conversation with authors Kevin & Guy

Today’s post features a conversation with From Bud to Boss book authors Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris. From Bud to Boss officially launches on Tuesday, February 15. This post will give you a great understanding of this terrific resource for new bosses.

Who will benefit from reading your book?

(Kevin) – There are three groups of people who will benefit the most from this book. The first, as the title implies, are people in the transition, or have been living through the transition from being a peer to delivering a performance evaluation! The second group is people who want to prepare themselves proactively for their first leadership role. The last group is more experienced leaders who are preparing or helping new leaders to be more successful.

(Guy) – Someone who was great at getting things done on his own and now finds himself having to get things done through others would get great value from our book. Someone who is preparing for leadership or helping others prepare for leadership would also get great value from it.

How can readers gain the most benefit from the book?

(Kevin) – The way to gain the most from the book is to put something into action.  We made that easier for readers by providing a self assessment at the start of every section – to help them see their strengths and weaknesses, and by providing a “Now Step” section at the end of every chapter. If a book buyer will open the book and read, then at the end of any chapter take the immediate actions suggested, this book will be of tremendous value.

(Guy) To make the book content more accessible and easier to put into action, we wrote the book in sections targeted at the six key areas where many new leaders have struggles and frustrations. We then broke each section into short chapters so that readers can get to the content in smaller, more focused chunks of information. We structured the book to make it easier to read, and we added the action steps so that readers can get into application quickly.

What was your first leadership experience? What training/support did you receive in the transition?

(Kevin) – My first leadership role was on our family farm and related business. Often when people were hired to a specific task or season, I was responsible for supervising them. In many cases (as is the case for many who will read the book) I was much younger than those I was leading. I didn’t have any formal training. Dad was an example and role model. We did talk about how things were going and answered questions. He would have been the first to tell you he wasn’t the perfect leader, yet he was extremely supportive and aware of the need to coach others.

(Guy) – My first leadership role was as a division officer on a submarine. I led a division of 8 or 10 enlisted personnel. One of them was a chief petty officer with more years in the Navy than I had been a legal adult. Several members of the division had been in the Navy much longer than me, and they definitely knew more about operating the engineering plant than I did. I did have some basic leadership training in Officer Candidate School, but it did not really prepare me for what I experienced as a new leader. The best support I received came from the Chief Petty Officer and senior enlisted personnel. They were honest, sometimes brutally honest, about my shortcomings as a leader. And, they helped me grow because of their honesty.

What are the core skills people need in order to make a successful transition to leadership in their organizations?

(Kevin) – Beyond the skills and strategies of the transition itself, we believe there are five big competency areas that need to come first, and we built the book around them.   They are:  change, communication, coaching, collaboration and teamwork, and commitment to success (everything related to goals and goal setting).

These aren’t the only competencies of leaders – AND we believe they are of prime importance for two reasons:

  1. They are highly important and complex skills to learn
  2. When someone first becomes a leader these skills take on a very different meaning or level of importance in their work and life.

(Guy) – The core skills are reflected in the sections of the book. When you carefully examine the content of each section, you will see that our focus is primarily on the people side of managing the transition and to developing competency in each of the six areas of leadership included in the book.  Leaders need to develop understanding and competency in the technical or transactional aspects of their role, and the people side of leadership is more complicated and difficult. This book provides a solid foundation in understanding the people skills so vital to leadership success.


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