Bob Sutton is one of my favorite authors. His newest, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…and Learn from the Worst, is just the latest in a long line of thought provoking (and just plain provocative) works and is a great follow-up to his New York Times bestseller, The No A#%&ole Rule.
If you’re a boss, if you lead a team, this is a very good resource to add to your toolkit. Where The No A#%&ole Rule focused on “the damage done by workplace jerks, what it takes to survive a nasty workplace, and how organizations can screen out, reform and expel demeaning and destructive creeps,” Good Boss, Bad Boss “reveals the mindset, measure and actions of the best bosses–along with lessons gleaned from mistakes that even the best bosses sometimes make (p. 9).”
Consistent with Sutton’s pattern, Good Boss, Bad Boss is a blend of research and rigorous study with true stories…and lots of them. His earlier efforts (with Jeffrey Pfeffer), Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management and The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action are two of the most readable (and most marked up) books in my library. Good Boss, Bad Boss has the same feel from cover to cover.
Working his way through some challenging topics, Sutton provides great insight into how to take control, how to link talk with action, and how to do the dirty work in a way that takes advantage of four antidotes (predictability, understanding, control and compassion). As expected he also includes a chapter on how to squelch your inner bosshole.
Every chapter includes a set of takeaways or a prescription that allows immediate application. Whether you’ve already been sensing the need to sharpen and improve your performance or you learned it in your most recent review…this is a resource that can help you as you take steps to correct your trajectory.
If you’re looking for a highly readable and very practical leadership handbook…this is a good one and I highly recommend it. You can order your copy right here.