Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst
Robert I. Sutton
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Now with a new chapter that focuses on what great bosses really do. Dr. Sutton reveals new insights that he's learned since the writing of Good Boss, Bad Boss. Sutton adds revelatory thoughts about such legendary bosses as Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, and many more, and how you can implement their techniques.
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can you do about it? Good Boss, Bad Boss is devoted to answering that question. Stanford Professor Robert Sutton weaves together the best psychological and management research with compelling stories and cases to reveal the mindset and moves of the best (and worst) bosses. This book was inspired by the deluge of emails, research, phone calls, and conversations that Dr. Sutton experienced after publishing his blockbuster bestseller The No Asshole Rule. He realized that most of these stories and studies swirled around a central figure in every workplace: THE BOSS. These heart-breaking, inspiring, and sometimes funny stories taught Sutton that most bosses - and their followers - wanted a lot more than just a jerk-free workplace. They aspired to become (or work for) an all-around great boss, somebody with the skill and grit to inspire superior work, commitment, and dignity among their charges.
As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss - which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to "stay in tune" with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.
believing that good things will happen to your people, and communicating that to them—the self-fulfilling prophecy —is supported by much research. Consider a study of drill instructors at an Army boot camp. In this field experiment with Israeli soldiers, five drill instructors were tricked by researchers into believing that ten of the thirty soldiers that each would lead for the next fifteen weeks was nearly certain to achieve superior performance. The researchers told the drill instructors that
nothing is ever quite good enough, that you can never stop learning and can never ever rest on your laurels isn’t just a hallmark of skilled bosses in flashy industries. You see it in effective bosses like Jeanne Hammontree, who operates a Chick-Fil-A restaurant. Jeanne constantly experiments with ways to drive business to her place in the Coolsprings Galleria food court near Nashville, Tennessee: putting advertisements in elevators, dressing employees in a Chick-Fil-A cow suit (the company
Bird,” McKinsey Quarterly (April 2008), http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/innovation_lessons_from_pixar_an_interview_with_oscarwinning_director_brad_bird_2127 (accessed August 11, 2009). 26 This nagging conviction: “Scenes from a Mall,” This American Life , episode 371, Chicago Public Radio, December 26, 2008, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1276 (accessed August 11, 2009). 27 Small Wins: Karl E. Weick, “Small Wins: Redefining the Scale of Social Problems,” American
Organizational and Psychological Dynamics That Inhibit System Change,” California Management Review 45 (2003): 55–72. 75 Giuliano urges doctors: Giuliano, “Diagnostic Error in the NICU.” 76 A study in flight simulators: H. Clayton Foushee, “Dyads and Triads at 35,000 Feet: Factors Affecting Group Process and Aircrew Performance,” American Psychologist 39 (1984): 885–893. 77 Jeff Pfeffer and I argue: Pfeffer and Sutton, Hard Facts, 232–234. 78 IDEO’s Diego Rodriguez: Diego Rodriguez, “Where Is
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