The Good, The Bad, And The Wise: 4 Aspirations

Terry is the COO of a client in the Midwest, and he recently shared one of his favorite books, Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert Sutton. As we well know, good bosses can build successful companies, wise bosses can help build exceptional organizations for shareholders and employees, and bad bosses can help destroy companies faster than they can be constructed.

If you are reviewing your work as an executive, if you aspire to be a leader, or you simply want to understand where your boss fits on the wise to bad continuum, please consider this:

  • Good bosses make compelling statements, wise bosses share their uncertainty while maintaining personal confidence, and bad bosses convey their personal anxiety and increase the tension for everyone.
  • Good bosses answer questions, wise bosses ask questions, and bad bosses avoid the questions, if possible.
  • Good bosses are articulate, wise bosses are articulate listeners, and bad bosses may talk well, but they are notoriously bad listeners.
  • Good bosses stick to a reasoned course of action, wise bosses consider options and will revise their plan and implementation strategies as necessary and bad bosses are often all over the place.

While you speculate about where you and/or your boss fit on the continuum, also consider the theme: executives are always on stage, so being successful requires a commitment to self-knowledge and self-awareness. Being good requires careful self-study, being wise means surrendering to what you learn, and being bad means you have little or no commitment to your team.