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Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst Paperback – March 15, 2012
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I loved this book - immediately my favorite business book. There are so many great principles and ideas to live up to, backed up by real data - it should be every boss' responsibility to read and understand it.―John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla Corporation, producer of the Firefox web browser
Good Boss, Bad Boss does a wonderful job of challenging conventional wisdom while outlining a clear and compelling rationale for thinking differently. From Sutton's useful steps for getting "in tune" with what it feels like to work for you, to evidence that eliminating the negative is more powerful than accentuating the positive, to the importance of demonstrating confidence with the admission that you're not always right. Good Boss, Bad Boss teaches the art and the science of practical leadership for the 21st century. I would consider it a must-read for anyone looking to improve their impact and accelerate their desired outcomes.―Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit
We are damned lucky to have Bob Sutton. While his every word is backed up by significant research, he writes in simple sentences that make enormous sense. Typical in this book, Sutton's little chart in Chapter 3, 'Smart Versus Wise Bosses,' is worth, all by itself, 100 times the price of admission. Good Boss, Bad Boss is as good as it gets.―Tom Peters, author of The Little Big Things and co-author of In Search of Excellence
It has been damn near impossible to find consistently good and objective insight and analysis from business thought leaders. But Robert I. Sutton, a professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford and the Stanford Institute of Design (where we have overlapped), is an exception. His new book, out now, is his best to date. Good Boss, Bad Boss is food for thought for managers and leaders in organizations large and small. It is packed with insight, lists of "how to" suggestions, and questions for bosses to ask themselves.―Reuters
About the Author
- Publisher : Business Plus; 2/14/12 edition (March 15, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0446556076
- ISBN-13 : 978-0446556071
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.25 x 8.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #197,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I would say that it likely preaches somewhat to the choir, in that arrogant and self-aware bosses are unlikely to be swayed by the book (or even read it), while good bosses (or those trying to be good bosses) are likely to already hold to these principles. That said, it is a useful reality check that even the best people, in bad circumstances, can fall prey to being bad bosses, and in that, the book does decently well. But it could do that in many fewer words.
As a recovering corporate type who now consults on organizational and leaderhship issues I encounter the grim realities that Bob captures powerfully on a daily basis. Bob nails the rise in incredibly bad behavior on the part of (usually) well-intended but flat-out over-worked senior leaders. We are pounding ourselves and our people so hard for short term results of any kind that we have forgotten how to get the best out of them. We have never needed peak levels of creativity, engagement, and risk-taking by our very best people. But what do we do? We unwittingly create toxic cultures of fear and risk aversion and when it doesn't work out or our best people bail we look everywhere but into the mirror to find culpability.
Most of my clients are getting this as a gift (though they claim they don't have time to read). This smart, wry, and witty indictment is MOST required for those who profess they don't have time to read anything. And it's not just another guy talking about the problems. It's all about solutions. If you pick one book to read as you think about your business and talent challenges in 2011, THIS is one you will be glad to own.
Now that I look back, I remember seeing books akin to this one on her desk or bookshelf. Managers in the making, pick up this book!
What's refreshing in these authentic and often humorous pages is that the solutions are not formulas. Being a good boss requires a myriad of wise "little ways" to eke out improvements, and a very big one, being a decent person. We learn the importance of Lasorda's Law, how George Washington used an aura of confidence "to learn on the job," and how a NASCAR pit crew manager innovated to turn saved seconds into victories.
Sutton tells it like it is, and it's worth the price of admission just to find out the name of the Hollywood Producer Jerk who ejected his assistant onto the side of a freeway for the crime of looking at him in the rear view mirror, and to learn the critical lessons of a chapter entitled "Squelch Your Inner Bosshole."
Sutton knows more about the thin line between a good or bad boss, and understands it's a daily human skirmish, less about meeting goals and quarterly numbers and more about understanding our need to produce, create, share and be appreciated. But you won't find happy talk here. Some of my favorite stories are inside gems about how cleverly orchestrated conflict delivers results, how Brad Bird of Pixar sought out "malcontents" to produce the hit movie "The Incredibles," or how the Senior Editor of The Onion maintains creativity every week in a 3-day brainstorm.
Leave your novel at home and put this valuable book in a visible spot at your cube or on your desk. It's bound to be the subject of conversation. Who knows, your boss may even thank you.
Sutton has done an incredible job summarizing an ocean of management research in a way that is clear, concise, and interesting. He's got more stories than Chip and Dan Heath and more insight than Jack Welch. His points are so well packaged and organized. It's just a joy to read. All new (and existing) managers should be given this book as standard reading.
Top reviews from other countries
Das ist erst mal nicht viel. Und wenn man sich selber nicht für einen Albtraum hält, noch weniger. Und dennoch: mit zunehmendem Lesen dämmert es einem, dass jeder Chef Gefahr läuft, zum Problem für seine Mitarbeiter zu werden. Genau dafür sensibilisiert einen dieses Buch. Z.B. "the toxic tandem": Chefs wissen viel weniger über ihre Mitarbeiter als diese über ihn. Gleichzeitig werden ihre Handlungen und Äußerungen aber viel genauer aufgenommen und bewertet.
Einen (halben) Stern Abzug gibt es von mir dafür, dass ich manche Empfehlungen etwas unrealistisch fand. Z.B. dass ein Chef immer für seine Mitarbeiter offen sein und ihre Zeit, inhaltlich zu arbeiten, verteidigen sollte. Viele Chefs sind aber selber "Untergebene" und müssen auch selber inhaltlich arbieten, wofür sie Ruhe brauchen. Das fand ich teilweise etwas realitätsfern. Trotzdem: in der Summe ein empfehlenswertes Buch mit einem klaren Fokus und einer klaren message: bei allem Streben nach Exzellenz und Erfolg nie die Mitarbeiter als Menschen vergessen!
Par exemple, le mauvais patron oublie rapidement qu’il est constamment observé et imité par ses collaborateurs. Son relâchement comportemental finit par déteindre sur toute la ligne managériale. À l’inverse, le bon patron reste constamment conscient de cet effet loupe et s’efforce d’être exemplaire même dans sa façon de gérer ses erreurs. Grâce à un style direct et caustique, l’auteur parvient à faire passer des messages difficiles, par exemple sur la nécessité de faire preuve de courage managérial et de savoir prendre rapidement des décisions délicates ou impopulaires. Ses conseils tiennent compte de la réalité des entreprises : ils sont concrets et facilement applicables. Tout lecteur qui souhaite prendre du recul sur sa pratique du management y trouvera probablement des pistes d’action et des recommandations utiles. Toutefois, inutile de l’offrir à un mauvais patron en espérant le faire changer : l’auteur a constaté qu’ils ont rarement conscience de leurs travers !