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Good Boss, Bad Boss

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Good Boss, Bad Boss

How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst

Business Plus,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

What kind of boss are you?

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Analytical
  • Engaging


Numerous studies around the world during the past several decades drew similar conclusions, noting that “75% of the workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job.” Professor of management Robert I. Sutton, the best-selling author of The No Asshole Rule, explores how good and bad bosses affect the workplace and what distinguishes one from the other. Sutton’s research is solid and his anecdotes are amusing, though he’s short on practical suggestions about how to handle a bad boss. As you might guess from the title of his last book, Sutton indulges in salty language and profanity, so be warned. With that caveat, getAbstract recommends his book to anyone who has – or is – a boss.


The Negative Impact of Bad Bosses

Bad bosses, especially bullies, have a profoundly negative impact on their workplaces. In a 2007 survey of almost 8,000 US adults, 37% had experienced bullying at work. Of those respondents, 72% said they suffered abuse from their superiors. Employees with obnoxious bosses were more likely to make intentional mistakes (30% vs. 6%), call in sick when they were healthy (29% vs. 4%), and put minimal effort into their work (33% vs. 9%).

A boss can be bad in many ways, but whatever the permutation, ill behaved bosses make people sick. In England, researchers tracked 6,000 civil service workers for 20 years. Those with bosses who were hypercritical, poor listeners or stingy with praise experienced higher rates of angina, heart attacks and death from heart disease than those working for benevolent bosses.

Finnish and Swedish studies show similar results. Employees working for bad bosses frequently report feeling angry, stressed out, emotionally numb, depressed or anxious. On the flip side, employees are more satisfied and productive when they feel their bosses care about them. Organizations with good bosses enjoy healthier employees...

About the Author

Robert I. Sutton wrote the best-selling business books Weird Ideas that Work; Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense; and The No Asshole Rule.

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