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Monday, January 24, 2011

Manager Know Thyself

Last spring, after “The New York Observer” posted its congratulations to a big-time TV producer on her retirement and plans to launch a 2nd career as a guidance counsellor, they received over 200 comments on line.  Most came from her former employees, claiming the story was bogus and that she was a “foul-mouthed, cliquish bully”, to quote “Psychology Today” reporter Carlin Flora.

Flora reports:  “In his new book, “Good Boss, Bad Boss:  How to Be the Best … and Learn from the Worst,” Robert Sutton, Ph.D., catalogs [the] disproportionate effect that managers have on well-being.  A meta-analysis found, for example, that ‘about 75 percent of the workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job.’

"For the majority of managers, who presumably want to fall on the heart-attack-reducing side of the scale, Sutton shares a key insight:  Good bosses know themselves.  And yet, just being in power is a deterrent to self-awareness, making it especially difficult for leaders to correctly ascertain the impact their behaviors and policies have on their employees.  ‘It turns out that followers, peers, superiors, and customers consistently provide better information about a boss’s strengths, weaknesses, and quirks than the boss herself,’ Sutton writes.  …

“[He] suggests they consciously beak out of the power bubble by asking [these info sources] for direct input and feedback.”