Do you remember that movie Office Space, a classic comedy about a down-and-out employee trying to survive his 9-to-5 job? It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, and it reminded me of how some bosses out there can ruin the culture of a workplace with their unreasonable behavior. Check out this article from Inc. I came across about difficult bosses. Pretty cool stuff!
Robert Sutton is like a priest or psychiatrist of office life: People tell him everything. And because he is not bound by vows of secrecy, Sutton, a professor in Stanford’s department of management science and engineering, is free to share the tales, both comic and tragic, that pour in to him from managers and the managed alike. Sutton’s 2007 book, The No Asshole Rule, was a bestseller. Its thesis — don’t hire jerks — became policy at companies around the world. He recently followed that up with the equally canny and diverting Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…and Learn From the Worst (Business Plus). Sutton spoke with Inc. editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan about how to produce inspiration, rather than desperation, in your followers.
What’s different about being the CEO and being a middle manager, in terms of how you behave as a boss?
Employees are always watching the boss. For bosses in the top position, that scrutiny is intense. Everything you do is magnified. You have to pay attention to every little thing.
Bosses also tend to get both more credit and more blame than they deserve. That, too, is magnified for the CEO. When the CEO receives a lot of credit for an achievement in the press, employees feel confident because they are working for a winner. But they also are aware of how much of the work they did. So the CEO needs to pile praise on employees. Also, if the leader accepts blame for a mistake, he is seen as more powerful and competent than if he tries to pass the buck.