Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Boss, Bad Boss

Just read a great book entitled Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best and Learn from the Worst. It was written by Robert I. Sutton, Ph.D. who also wrote The No Asshole Rule. Based on recent experiences, this was a great book to read and I encourage anyone who is interested in any sort of professional leadership to pick up this read. While have a plethora of good examples of bad bosses, this book has helped me to refocus on my own skills as a boss. I have linked this entry to Dr. Sutton's webpage and have included a couple of excerpts from the book.

"A host of renowned bosses talk about the importance of thanking people, about the power of this small gesture, and how failure to express appreciation to people who are working their tails off is a sign of disrespect. The late Robert Townsend, former CEO of Avis Rent-A-Car and author of Up the Organization, defined 'thanks' as a 'really neglected form of compensation.' Max DePree, former CEO of furniture giant Herman Miller, described saying 'thank you' as among a leader's primary jobs." - page 96

I can recall countless times in previous jobs where a "thank you" could have gone a long way. I even had one previous boss explain to me that they shouldn't have to say "thank you" and that I should just assume I and my team were doing a good job. I still don't know for sure if this particular boss was a bad communicator or just didn't give a shit about me as a subordinate. While it is personally difficult to work in a thankless situation, I also know that I could have done a better job of showing my appreciation for my employees. So, if any of you are reading this, I hope a late "thank you" is better than nothing and I promise to do better in the future.

"After spending several years immersed in the 'asshole problem' and contemplating cures for bossholes here, I realized there is a central theme implied in much of what I say and write, but rarely spell out: Embarrassment and pride are perhaps the most powerful antidotes to asshole poisoning. Consider this pair of diagnostic questions. If you are a boss, ask yourself: When you look back at how you've treated followers, peers, and superiors, in their eyes, will you have earned the right to be proud of yourself? Or will they believe that you ought to be ashamed of yourself and embarrassed by how you have trampled on others' dignity day after day?" - pages 236-7

Take the test!


Thanks Dr. Sutton!

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