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Tommy Lasorda the baseball successful manager and executive for the Los Angeles Dodgers once said that managing people is like holding a dove in your hand. All of us have a good idea of what makes a good or bad boss. When it comes down to it, everyone prefers to work under a good boss, but what exactly are the characteristics of a manager that makes this happen?

The book fortunately first focuses primarily on the habits and qualities of good bosses. When Linda Hudson was named the first female president of General Dynamics she dressed with a uniquely tied scarf on her first few days on the job. Soon she noticed several women in the large office wearing their scarves tied exactly the same way.

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The story serves as a lesson of how peers, superiors, and customers are watching the person higher up on the ladder for cues for patterning their own behavior. A good boss also demonstrates empathy for employees, protecting them from inappropriate workplace behavior. The idea is to establish and maintain an environment where employees feel protected not just from rude behavior of other employees, but also from threats from further up the corporate ladder.

The boss who fights these battles and takes the blame when things go badly while also spreading around the credit when the team performs well is rewarded with strong long term employee loyalty.


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The good manager pays close attention to employees that are truly valuable and the employees that will do the consistent in the trenches work. Rewarding those who truly deserve it rather than the ones who boast about their accomplishments goes a long way towards building a strong dedicated team. Sutton points out that managers realize that running a department or company is more like a marathon then a sprint, with sustained but consistent behavior that creates a safe, productive work place.

Bad bosses many times are copying the behavior of their own bad boss role model or are reacting poorly to the pressure of missed deadlines, not reaching company goals, or demanding customers. Many times this poor supervision becomes ingrained into the company culture. It may take adjustments at the very top to ask how change this behavior by instituting strict policies that stress courteous standards for treating fellow employees. Sutton suggests that bosses can keep themselves in line by offering a monetary reward to employees who tell them when they are being a jerk.

Good Boss, Bad Boss is essential to anyone who is managing people for the first time and those who have that nagging feeling that they should improve their managing skills. Northern Initiatives is a community development organization based in Marquette, Michigan that provides entrepreneurs with access to capital, information, and new markets.

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You are commenting using your Google account. 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 best seller The No Asshole Rule. 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.

Spend years in management and you'll work your way through a tower of leadership development and management practices books. Some are insightful while most simply confirm the things you already knew. Good Boss, Bad Boss was different. Sutton provides not just conceptual truths gleaned from his research, but he gets down into the trenches and identifies specific, individual behaviors that can either help or hurt a manager or leader's efforts to perform the job.

I cannot recall another book that eschewed theory and provided a practical roadmap as useful as that which Sutton provides here. Banish the Bosshole with this book. When I wake up in the morning, I always say to myself I will be kind to my staff. This book strenghtened my beliefs that kindness begets kindness, respect begets respect. One of the best books I've ever listened too. Thank you Mr.

Sutton for great advice and insights. On Christmas Day, my new boss sent me an email asking about a 6 month old charge from a vendor. Three days earlier, he sent me an email while I was driving to a client meeting 90 minutes away. When I checked my emails before starting the meeting, I found the original email - and several strident follow ups, demanding an immediate response to the original email and an explanation for why I hadn't responded immediately.

And, just before New Years' Day, while I was on a family vacation, he had me work for hours on a project he'd already cancelled. I could go through Roget's and pick out any number of words for the situation and how I feel about the last 10 days of the year.

Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert I. Sutton | Hachette Book Group

But, as Robert I. At least I wasn't water-boarded as a team building exercise like one literally tortured employee in his book. He's got some great concepts - simplified as the 'No asshole rule' that, from my bottom-of-the-pile, no-one-under-me, I-never-want-to-manage-anyone perspective, work. And work well. When things worked, he left us alone.


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  • When he needed to criticize, he did so swiftly and without apology. Mostly, he deflected outside interference and let us do our jobs. These are concepts Sutton champions, along with rigorous honesty, especially in the face of problems; managing what you know and not rising to the Peter principal level; keeping your mouth shut about confidential information; and showing empathy for employees. Sutton's got specific management techniques for handling difficult situations.

    I've seen them in action, and they work.

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    As far as employee survival techniques go, I'd expected more from a book that's title includes, ". It seems like it happens to a lot of employees in Sutton's book as a natural result of unremitting demoralization, so maybe I'll get there. If you're already a manager, have someone you trust fill out the test for you. Follow the recommendations so you are called 'El Jefe Mas Excelente' instead of something else. Unfortunately, though, this book isn't as helpful for us worker bees trying to survive in a restless hive. Bob Walter was good narrator, and the pacing and editing was good.


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    I am a young boss at Stanford and this book has opened my eyes to so many opportunities to be a good boss and how not to be a bad boss! This book is primarily a series of anecdotes. While entertaining for the first min, it gets tedious after that. The book also states the obvious things that make good vs bad bosses.

    I stopped listening to the book because I wasn't learning anything new. Take a pass on this book; there's better reading listening available.

    Good boss, bad boss

    Great book I loved it. It made me look at myself and situation from a new perspective. Great read, I will do my best not to be one of the "boss-holes"!!! This book quite literally changed the path of my life. The life lessons apply not only to being a boss, but in any aspect of your life where you deal with other people.

    I listen to this book at least once a year, sometimes twice, to make sure I haven't slipped into any bad habits.

    Anyone wanting to be a better boss, and a happier person, has something to gain from this book. Well written! Really enjoyed this!

    I previously felt like my bosses behavior was pretty typical and that I was weak or unrealistic but now I know what is more in line with how I should be treated. Thanks for writing this!!! The only thing I would say could have been improved upon was the narration.

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    Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst

    Slightly dry. When compared to other books on leadership or organizational behavior this one takes the top spot, hands down. Most good books focus on a narrow aspect of leadership and provide concrete data to back up the assertion. Too often we forget how much goes into being a "good boss". Unlike "The No Asshole Rule" also a great read , "Good Boss, Bad Boss" covers such an array of behaviors and ways of viewing leadership that it should be standard reading for any "boss".

    How does this one compare?