Bob Sutton has done extensive research on what makes a good boss and a bad boss. His latest book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst, captures his research findings.
A professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford Business School, Bob shared with me that 35% of the students in Stanford Business School are engineers.
What does it take to be a good boss like Brad Bird of Pixar? Mentors and peers to give you perspective help. The best bosses find ways to be in tune with the people they lead. They understand what it feels like to work for them. Good bosses focus their attention on their team. They listen to responses from those under them. Good bosses foment creative conflict or, what John Walker of Pixar termed, “loving conflict.”
Bad bosses suffer from something Bob calls “Power Poisoning.” Bad bosses suffer from the “mum effect.” They dislike whoever gives them bad news. Their employees, therefore, don’t give them bad news and agree with them often.
The single best phrase from the entire interview was Bob’s quote that the best bosses, “Fight like they’re right and listen like they’re wrong.”
Listen to the entire interview here: