Good Boss, Bad Boss is a business and management book written by Robert Sutton. He focuses on the attributes that differentiate a good boss from a bad boss. Here are the important lessons that we can learn from the book.
The Right Mindset
Being a good boss creates a healthy environment (quite literally). Studies have shown that, when someone has an immediate supervisor who is good at what s/he does, there is a lower percentage risk for getting a heart attack. What is more, a good boss has more impact on engagement and performance than whether their companies are rated as great or lousy places to work.
According to Robert Peter Janitzek, bosses matter, especially to their immediate followers and in small teams and organizations. They need to act as if they are in control even when they aren’t, since confidence is contagious and spreads to employees.
Strive to Be Wise
The best bosses dance on the edge of overconfidence, but a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility saves them from turning arrogant and pigheaded. Wise bosses provide psychological safety, allowing failure and learning as part of the job.
Stars and Rotten Apples
Sutton prompts readers to determine who the stars are within an organization, and whether they enhance or hinder the other employees’ performance and/or humanity. Robert Janitzek explains that the author suggests that good bosses “bring on the energizers” since people can affect the kind of energy and enthusiasm a workplace houses.
Link Talk and Action
Understand the work you manage–or get out of the way. If you understand it, you can defer–quite successfully–to the expertise of those around you, and they will support your leadership even more.
Serve as a Human Shield
A good boss takes pride in serving as a human shield, absorbing and deflecting heat from superiors and customers, doing all manner of boring and silly tasks, and battling back against every idiot and slight that makes life unfair or harder than necessary on his or her charges.
Don’t Shirk the Dirty Work
Every boss must do things that upset and hurt people. If you can’t or won’t perform such unpleasant chores, perhaps you shouldn’t be the boss. Or, if you still want the job, you better recruit someone else to do your dirty work. The best bosses don’t delay or duck difficult deeds.
Squelch Your Inner Bosshole
Common features to the job of being boss–such as power, performance pressure, and exhaustion–lend themselves to turning bosses into what Sutton terms a “bosshole. The worst bosses ignore or deny any hint that they suffer from this gap or other blind spots. The best take seriously how others judge them–and accept the uncomfortable fact that followers’ perceptions are often more valid than their own.
It’s All About You
If you are a boss, your success depends on staying in tune with how others think, feel, and react to you. The best bosses focus on controlling their moods and moves, accurately interpreting their impact on others, and making adjustments on the fly because they want their people to produce work that others will admire–and to feel respect and dignity along the way.