Robert Sutton on Good Leaders vs. Bad Leaders

July 30, 2020

Today it’s great to have Robert Sutton on the podcast. Sutton is Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior by courtesy at Stanford. He co-founded the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design which everyone calls the d.school. Sutton received his PhD in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He is a senior scientist at Gallup and academic director of two executive education programs — Customer-Focused Innovation and the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. He has served as professor at the Hoss Business School, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a fellow at IDEO, an advisor to McKinsey and Company, and faculty at the World Economic Forum at Davos. Sutton’s books include The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t  and Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…. and Survive the Worst, which were both New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. His latest book, Scaling-Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less (with Huggy Rao), was published in 2014.

Time Stamps

[1:56] The main thread that weaves through Bob’s work

[5:04] Where the inspiration for 15 Things I Believe comes from

[7:01] Why the best management is no management at all

[9:38] The attitude of wisdom

[13:37] Why indifference is as important as passion

[18:31] Why the best leaders know what it feels like to work for them

[21:01] The importance of fighting as if you are right and listening as if you are wrong

[22:46] The deadly brew of illusion, impatience, and incompetence

[25:30] Why big teams suck

[29:50] Addition sickness & the importance of subtraction

[31:46] How hierarchy can be positive

[36:13] Why success cannot involve harming others

[41:29] The importance of saying “I have enough”

[44:46] Dealing with leaders who harm

[50:14] Why “am I a success or a failure?” is not a very useful question.

[53:00] The importance of embracing messiness

[56:01] Why work is overrated

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