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Good Boss, Bad Boss

Posted by on March 26, 2012

Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best...and learn from the worst

This is a follow up to another post: Do You Bring out the Worst in People? I heard about this book from a Stanford talk that was podcast a couple of months ago. I decided to check out the book,  it’s worth a look: Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst. Whether you decide to read it or not, here are few interesting points I gleaned from the talk the author gave at Stanford.



The “Toxic Tandem”

…there’s something about being the boss where people tend to now pay much attention to their employees.

The people who you lead watch your every move.
You will get more blame and more credit for organizational performance.

Leaders are responsible for about 15% of what’s accomplished and they get 50% of the blame or credit. So they get more of both than they deserve. The best bosses work hard to see how people are attuned to them.

  1. Focus on their own needs.
  2. Focus less on the needs of others.
  3. Act as though the rules don’t apply to them.

To be a good boss

Be perfectly assertive: can be pushy, can get into people’s face when necessary, can give negative feedback and back off when necessary.

  1. Management that’s too intrusive stifles creativity.
  2. You don’t plant a seed and dig it up every day to see how it’s doing. You leave it alone for the most part.
  3. Let people do their work and their jobs.
  4. We want confident, competent, but not arrogant pig headed bosses who can’t take feedback.
  5. Humility to update when the time comes a long.
  6. Bosses need to be able to hear feedback and act on it.
  7. Wisdom and management requires listening. Hear the truth and people can tell them the truth. Most give an incentive NOT to tell you the truth. They flatter to get ahead. Anyone who tells bad news we like less.
  8. Fight as if you’re right; listen as if you’re wrong.
  9. Powerful people arrive late and end meetings late – they draw things out to feel important.
  10. Protect their people from idiocy form on high

One of my favorites is “protecting your people from idiocy from on high.” If you’re lucky enough to have a boss who does that than you are lucky indeed. Most bosses I’ve worked with don’t have the vision to see the B.S. nonsense from the real issues. Or they see it but don’t have the intestinal fortitude to block this nonsense from affecting their employees.

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