Businessweek Archives

Bob Sutton's Reply to Reader Chris


Dear Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to write us about your detailed and rather horrifying tale. It sounds to me like you did everything within reason, in fact, the moves you used against your asshole boss reflected everything within reason. I applaud you for fighting back, for documenting, and when things reached a point where you had done all you could, I also applaud you for getting out. That is sometimes the best thing, as you need to protect yourself.

Your note also reflects how many organizations continue to put up with, and even reward, bully bosses — even though in the end it costs them money. Bosses like these have been shown to make their charges physically and mentally sick, and to undermine the productivity and creativity of those people as well. When I read about all the energy you put into fighting back against this jerk (which was wise and brave, assuming your report is accurate), I not only feel bad for your suffering, I also shake my head because if only you could have redirected your energy to helping your organization, everyone would have won. Too bad that senior management didn’t seem to get that.

Here are some posts on the damage done by assholes bosses that hurt their own companies, see here and here — I bet that if your former company had calculated the total cost of this bully boss (as this company did) they would have been shocked, perhaps even shocked into getting the courage to fire him.

Bob Sutton


Later, Baby
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