The upshot is, to be a great boss, you’ve got to think and act as if “it is all about you.” Your success depends on being fixated on yourself. On the surface, this conclusion clashes with advice from many gurus and experts. Former GE CEO Jack Welch and Stanford’s Robert Joss (dean of the Graduate School of Business for a decade), for example, implore managers, “It’s not about you.” I agree with the spirit of this advice, as the aim is to discourage bosses from falling prey to their most selfish and destructive instincts. Yet I question the words because most bosses, like most human beings, are remarkably self-obsessed — and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yes, the worst are selfish, are oblivious to their charges, and cling to dangerous delusions about their magnificent leadership skills. The best are equally self-obsessed, but have different motivations. Their obsession isn’t for egotistical or for selfish reasons. On the contrary, they focus on controlling their moods and moves, accurately interpreting their impact on others, and making adjustments on the fly because they want their people to produce work that others will admire — and to feel respect and dignity along the way.
— Robert I. Sutton
Copyright © 2010 by Robert Sutton. Reprinted by permission of Business Plus, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc. All rights reserved.