Good Boss, Bad Boss – Content Overview

[Note Good Boss, Bad Boss, by Robert Sutton, to-be-published 7 September 2010]

I wrote about good bosses taking the middle ground, which was something that continually popped out at me while reading the book.  After I was done reading, I revisited the chapter list, and found that it was a very accurate representation of the content.

Take a look below, I’ve included some quotes that give you a high-level idea of what each chapter is about.

Table of Contents:


I: Setting the Stage

Chapter 1: The Right Mindset
(“The success or failure of every boss hinges on how well or how badly he she navigates these vexing and all-too-human relationships.”)

II: What the Best Bosses Do

Chapter 2: 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, you job will be impossible to do and your life will be hell.”)

Chapter 3: Strive to Be Wise
(“The best bosses dance on the edge of overconfidence, but a healthy dose of self-doubt and humility saves them from turning arrogant and pigheaded.  Bosses who fail to strike this balance are incompetent, dangerous to follow, and downright demeaning.”)

Chapter 4: Stars and Rotten Apples
(“The best bosses don’t just recruit people with stellar solo skills; they bring in employees who will weave their vigor and talents with others….no man or woman is an island.”)

Chapter 5: Link Talk and Action
(“The worst [bosses] don’t even realize that they routinely stifle and misdirect action.  The best find ways to close knowing-doing gaps, even in workplaces otherwise plagued with hollow talk and inaction.”)

Chapter 6: Serve as a Human Shield
(“The best bosses let their 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…a good boss takes pride in serving as a human shield….”)

Chapter 7: Don’t Shirk from the Dirty Work
(“Every boss must do things that upset and hurt people.  If you can’t or won’t perform such unpleasant chores, perhaps you shouldn’t be the boss.”)

Chapter 8: Squelch Your Inner Asshole

(“The worst bosses ignore or deny any hint they suffer from this gap or other blind spots.  The est take seriously how others judge them – and accept the uncomfortable fact that followers’ perceptions are often more valid that their own.”)

III: The Upshot

Chapter 9: It’s All About You
(“If you are a boss, your success depends on staying in tune with how others think, feel and react to you.”)

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