What Makes a Good Boss?

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt What about your boss? Good guy/gal, or just so-so? I’ll bet you can recognize a great boss when you see one. But like great works of art, however, a good boss is hard to define. The word “boss” conjures up memories of the good, the bad and the ugly ones we’ve endured throughout our careers. Stanford University management professor Robert I. Sutton, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller The No Asshole Rule, knows about bosses. He’s received thousands of emails about the bad ones since the 2007 publication of that title. In his most recent book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…and Learn from the Worst (Business Plus, 2010) Sutton focuses on what it takes to be a better boss. “Devoting relentless attention to doing one good thing after another – however small – is the only path I know to becoming and remaining a great boss,” he writes. “I wish I could promise you that the path was easier.” Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a restaurant owner, athletic coach or store manager, your success depends on how well you deal with the people who surround you. In any position of authority, great or small, you’re expected to personally guide, inspire and discipline. Anytime you have more power than others, you must interact in productive ways and you’ll face strong emotions and gut reactions. A boss evokes feelings of confidence and comfort, as well as insecurity, fear, anger and confusion. When...