5 managerial skills for becoming a great boss
5 managerial skills for becoming a great boss

5 Managerial Skills for becoming a Great Boss

Displaying good management skills, will not only help motivate your team, it will lead to great career success for you personally.

“Bob Selden was a fantastic first manager. He has taught me the survival skills I needed to manage a business, but more importantly to successfully manage other people. Bob is an amazing diplomat that treats his staff and colleagues with respect and a manner that makes you want to give 200% to your job. I loved working with Bob and am thankful for the experience - it really was one that no MBA program could teach. Thanks Bob.” – Stephanie, one of our first team members at Focus Learning Systems.

You’ll read a lot about things such as “The 6, 7 or even the 20 Best Management Skills” - and there’s plenty of good advice in many of these articles and blogs - but really there are only five things you need to know, and more importantly, apply - the 5 managerial skills for becoming a great boss. These are the five that I used when managing people such as Stephanie and many others over a quarter of a century – and across different countries and cultures. So, read on and start applying!

Words matter so much
Words matter so much

Why do words matter so much and why do leaders so often get them wrong?

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, CEO of Australian telco company, Optus, has spent considerable time explaining a recent major cyberattack in the media (it was reported that 9 million customers cold be potentially affected). Most of her messaging is focused on facts and figures – how many customers had been affected? What do people need to do now?” and so on.

When asked, “How do you feel about this happening under your watch?” Rosmarin replied, “Terrible, a mix of a lot of mixed emotions. I’m angry that there are a lot of people out there that want to do this to our customers. I’m disappointed … I’m disappointed that it undermines all the great work we’ve been doing to be a pioneer in this industry, a real challenger to create new and wonderful experiences for our customers, and I’m very sorry and apologetic for what has happened”.

Except for the last few words, the language is about the harm caused to the business, not to the customers. She did use the word ‘sorry’ but is she ‘sorry’ that it happened to Optus, or ‘sorry’ for the potential hurt to customers?

Conversation and language are integral to everyday life.  Words are the primary tool humans use to express our thoughts and feelings. Why do words matter so much? Why do leaders so often miss the mark? 

Is there a place for gossip in the new normal?
Is there a place for gossip in the new normal?

Is there a place for gossip in the new normal?

Social chit-chat is a vital part of being human. But how does that fit in with the new normal of hybrid or home working where our physical contact with others is limited?

As a manager, I recall an occasion where I interviewed a lady for a job opportunity in my team. She was a good candidate, but not the most qualified for the position, so missed out on getting the role. Some days later, one of my team said to me “I didn’t know that you interviewed my sister for a job here”, to which I replied, “No, that’s her business if she wishes to tell you, not mine – those things are confidential”. Over the next few days, I heard this story repeated (in various versions) through the office “grapevine” with the message that, “Bob can be trusted to keep confidences”.

Corporate culture - lost touch?
Corporate culture - lost touch?

Corporate culture - have we lost our touch?

"Have you lost your touch?" were the words my wife said to me as I struggled with the latest PC plug-in gizmo. For some reason her use of the word "touch", started me thinking about all the Zoom meetings we're having now. And working with a number of family business owners during and since Covid via Zoom, Skype, Windows Teams etc., on how to manage their businesses, I've noticed the difficulty people have in making real connections when they use these virtual communication tools.

Have we in fact "lost our touch" when it comes to connecting with others?

The demise of the Blackberry and its link to Covid

The demise of the Blackberry and its link to Covid

In January 2022, the Blackberry, the iconic phone of the early 2000's and the item that first allowed us to send and receive emails on our phones (about five years before Apple and Samsung did so), ceased to operate. The company is no longer supporting the phones, so they now become a perhaps nostalgic paperweight (for those "lucky" enough to have had one – often provided by their employer).

Now, you may be thinking, what's the link between the Blackberry and the Covid pandemic?

What happens when we can’t shake hands anymore?

What happens when we can’t shake hands anymore?

Using touch to communicate. What happens when we lose the handshake? During and post Covid-19, we’ve been asked to avoid touching other people (outside our bubble). That, and being almost fanatical about cleaning our hands and social distancing, have put us (in New Zealand) in the enviable position of probably having the best results in the world for tackling the Corona virus pandemic.

But there may be downsides that we’re not yet fully aware of. Let me backtrack for a moment.

The Trust Bank is open all hours for deposits – and withdrawals!

The Trust Bank is open all hours for deposits – and withdrawals!

Building trust in the workplace. The Covid lockdown precipitated a strange phenomenon for businesses, emblematic of what happens when organisations are under external threat.

This phenomenon has two distinct phases: cooperation, then discord.

Advice for businesses handling this phenomenon may seem counter intuitive. However, there are some simple answers.

Honest and challenging conversations – the heart of the family business

Honest and challenging conversations – the heart of the family business

Challenging conversations. Approaching a difficult situation within a family business can be challenging. Underlying tensions, which often lead to less than honest conversations, are often caused by childhood rivalries. Sibling rivalries, generational differences or power struggles can be simmering beneath the surface just waiting to emerge when a small issue arises. But there are ways to handle these challenges.


We all know that well-worn cliché, ‘honesty is the best policy’. We also know that it’s far easier said than done.

How can family members when working together in business, have open and honest conversations with one another?

It all depends on the hat that each wear!

Family businesses tap into a rich vein of innovation

Family businesses tap into a rich vein of innovation

Businesses forget-it’s not just about the product or service, it’s the customer experience that brings people back time and time again - customer experience is the key.


There’s a great example of what innovative local businesses can do when the ‘chips are down’. Steve Stannard of the Cyclista Espresso Bar and Roastery in Palmerston North, NZ, knew that after four weeks without, Kiwis really wanted their good, barista made coffee. But how to get it to them from his café in George Street, Palmerston North without breaking the Level 3 restrictions? How could ge continue to give then a customer experience?

He could, as others have done, start a phone or online initiated delivery service – but with limited resources, this was not feasible. As a successful business owner, Stannard also knew something that often other businesses forget – it’s not just about the product or service, it’s the experience. "Part of getting coffee is the experience. It's not just about getting your coffee; people like to come in for a chat" Stannard said.

Pondering this conundrum during Level 4 lockdown, Stannard got the brilliant idea of

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