Book Review: Good Boss, Bad Boss

July 10, 2010

I’m taking a moment out of The One Minute Commute to write a review of the new book Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton. The One Minute Commute will resume on Tuesday.

Being the boss is such a terrifying idea that I avoided it for years. I threw career advancement to the wind and lived by a simple rule: I don’t want to be in charge of anyone.

Over the last few years the mantle of authority has been increasingly thrust upon me over. I blame old age. Every new touch of gray adds to my air of authority.

Heavy is the head that wears the cheap rayon necktie of middle management. Now I give orders, perform reviews, and take responsibility. My boss put it well, “if things go wrong I want one neck to choke.”

That’s why I was eager to read the new book Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton. The No Asshole Rule, Dr. Sutton’s previous book, snuck up on me. It started as a typical business book with a cute name, but left me with a quiet joy as I remembered all the certified asshole’s I’ve survived.

Good Boss, Bad Boss is a companion piece to The No Asshole Rule that works as half sequel and half peer. It focuses on the skills, attitudes, and general mindset of being a good boss. It pointed out a few places I need to improve and gave me strong encouragement to continue supporting my team.

The book lags a little where it becomes a how to. You can’t really become a good boss following a checklist. It’s the vibrant examples that bring this book to life. We see bosses from big business, the entertainment industry, professional sports, The Onion, and many more.

Wherever they work, good bosses always support their teams and create an environment where success is possible. They lead the team with a firm grip and a light touch.

If you’re the big boss, a small team leader, or an individual contributor this book will give you insight and into the strange, terrifying, exhausting, and exhilarating world of being the boss.

And I always appreciate the chance to use profanity and claim I’m being professional.

Previous post:

Next post: