Program Highlights

  • The toxic tandem, the mum effect, and other challenges to being a good boss.
  • Why good bosses make it safe to disagree.
  • How to predict the most effective leaders in an organization.
Great bosses are self-obsessed—but not for egotistical reasons. The best are those who understand their people’s opinions of them and what it’s like to work for them. This is no easy task. People in power tend to focus on their own needs over the needs of others. They also believe they have a stronger positive influence over their people than they actually do. From peer-reviewed research and case studies, Professor Sutton found truly in-tune leaders share five hallmark characteristics.
Good bosses are “perfectly assertive”: they are aware of people’s reactions to them, and adjust, knowing when to push or back off. They have the “attitude of wisdom,” dancing on the edge of overconfidence, but with a healthy dose of self doubt and humility. They use a “small wins” strategy, framing big, hairy goals in terms of small, manageable steps. And they eliminate the negatives in an organization, such as competitive superstars or rotten apples. Finally, the best bosses serve as a “human shield,” protecting their people from harm, distractions, and indignities.
Robert Sutton is a professor of organizational behavior, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a codirector of the Customer-Focused Innovation Executive Program. The author of several books, including Good Boss, Bad Boss, he received his PhD in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Good Boss, Bad Boss:

Robert Sutton

Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University


54 Minutes