10 Things “Best Bosses” Do  

Excerpt from book Good Boss, Bad Boss” by Robert Sutton,PhD

To be a great boss, you’ve got to think and act as if it is all about you; your success depends on being fixated on yourself.

Develop and Sustain Self-Awareness
This ought to be at the top of the list for every boss. David Dunning, of Cornell University, shows that a hallmark of poor performers is a lack of self-awareness — they consistently overestimate their skills in just about any task that requires intellectual and social skills, such as debating, having a sense of humor, or interviewing others. In contrast, Dunning finds that self-awareness is a hallmark of the best performers — they are especially cognizant of their strengths and weaknesses and fret about overcoming pitfalls that can undermine their performance.

  1. The best bosses battle unnecessary intricacy, serving as simplicity police who relentlessly reduce the emotional and cognitive effort required for turning knowledge into action. The quest for simplicity also means using clear and actionable metrics — and as few as possible, ideally three.
  2. The best bosses realize that making crisp decisions bolsters their control. Definitive decisions make it easier for people to know what to do next. Answering employees with a clear yes or no, and doing so quickly, is especially constructive.
  3. Smart bosses give help but don’t ask for help, and refuse it when offered; whereas wise Bosses give help, ask for help, and accept it when offered.
  4. Take Control If you want to be a successful boss, you have to convince people that your words and deeds pack a punch. If they don’t believe you are in charge, your job will be impossible to do and your life will be hell.
  5. Strive to Be Wise – Wise bosses are devoted to knowing what they don’t know — seeking a healthy balance between courage and humility.
  6. Recruit Energizers – The best bosses select and breed employees who not only produce splendid solo performances, but bring out the best … in others, too.
  7. Link Talk and ActionThe best bosses find ways to close knowing-doing gaps, even in workplaces otherwise plagued by hollow talk and inaction.
  8. Embrace the Mess It is impossible to be a leader without facing stretches where you and your followers are overwhelmed with the complexity and uncertainty of it all.
  9. Serve as a Human Shield
    The best bosses let the workers do their work; they protect their people from red tape, meddlesome executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings, and a host of other insults, intrusions and time wasters. They also get ahead of the bullying behavior that worsens morale and productivity.
  10. Squelch Your Inner Jerk
    Bosses can avoid becoming a Certified Jerks and limit the damage done when their Inner Jerk rears its ugly head by being aware and mindfully battling these forces.
    Buy the Book

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