Robert Sutton of 'Good Boss, Bad Boss' on Leaders

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With unemployment near 10 percent, have employers been able to weed out jerks?
If anything, I think the workplace has gotten meaner. Think of what makes employees grouchy: low job security, cost cutting, little upward mobility. The recession has magnified all of these things.

You describe common pitfalls for executives. What went wrong with BP’s Tony Hayward?
As a CEO, the worst thing you can do is make statements that indicate you have no control over a situation. Tony Hayward did that constantly. He also refused to take any blame for anything.

tease-ceos-behaving-badly-hurd-hewlett Photos: CEOs Behaving Badly Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Is it harder to be a good boss since the Great Recession?
Money disguises a bunch of evils, and when a company is in the red, there’s more pressure on the manager. That said, there’s an opportunity for great bosses to emerge. Employees recognize leaders who can execute layoffs compassionately, or cut pay in a fair way.

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