Bad Boss / Good Boss

This is now my favorite table from an old MIT Sloan Management Review piece. It describes how a boss’ behavior can be read from two vantage points. It’s brilliant! —JM

OBSERVED BEHAVIOR SUBORDINATE INTERPRETATION
GOOD BOSS BAD BOSS
Gives critical feedback Honest Abrasive
Makes a unilateral decision Decisive Autocratic
Instructs work to be redone Demanding Impossible to please
Imposes performance metrics Disciplined Control freak
Works weekends Driven Obsessive
Sticks with a dubious course of action Persistent Stubborn
Ignores their boss’s advice Self-confident Arrogant
Gives unsolicited advice Helpful Meddlesome
Asks specific questions Informed Micromanager
Delays response to proposal Reflective Unsupportive
Does not punish a mistake Compassionate Spineless
Loses temper in public Passionate Temperamental
Manages by walking about Empathic Clueless
Breaks a promise Opportunistic Untrustworthy
Limits interaction times Structured Unapproachable

And you can pair this with the “boss advice” page in the Design in Tech Report.

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