Good Boss, Bad Boss

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Bossholes that are unwilling to change won’t like, “Good Boss, Bad Boss,” by Robert Sutton. The trouble is if you’re a bosshole, you probably don’t know it. “… about 75% of the workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job.”

Sutton’s book is filled with illustrative stories, dynamic scholarship, and enough practical guidance to last a lifetime.

Some favorite quotes:

“Fight as if you are right, and listen as if you are wrong.”

“…bosses ought to be judged by what they and their people get done and by how their followers feel along the way”

“Most people suffer from self enhancement bias.”

“Act like you are in control even when you aren’t.”

“Just because people can perform a job well doesn’t mean they should manage it.”

“… spark performance by expressing confidence (in fact, overconfidence) in all your people.”

“I feel like I’ve been going to the same meeting for 25 years.” (V.P. of a retail chain)

“… People who know the most are sometimes the least vocal and pushy.”

“Checklist create especially strong connective tissue between words and concrete deeds.” (From my favorite chapter: Link Talk and Action)

“Do it and you will know.”

“Get people angry by naming the enemy, or get them excited by identifying compelling dreams and goals.”

“… every boss must hurt others. But there is a big difference between what you do and how you do it.”

“When people have no information they fill the vacuum by inventing and spreading false …explanations.”

“Do not delay painful decisions and actions; hoping the problem will go away.”

“… assume the motto, “Assholes are us” means you too…”

“Developing and sustaining self-awareness ought to be at the top of the list for every boss.”


Some people buy books by who the author is. If Robert Sutton writes it, I’m buying it.


Which of the quotes I listed grabs your attention? Let’s talk about it.