An important theme running through this book is the idea that a great boss is someone who helps and supports their people to do their best work. This worldview encourages us to engage in positive, developmental behaviors such as coaching, delegating, and communicating openly.
But this approach to management assumes that employees have both the will and the skill to do their jobs well. Even if this assumption is valid 95% of the time, we still have to figure out how to act the other 5% of the time.
The reality is that there will always be a small number of people who, for whatever reason, are not interested in doing a good job or lack the basic capability to be effective. They show up late, they shirk, they complain, and they make frequent mistakes – and their negative behaviors create problems for those around them.
One of the hallmarks of a really good boss is the ability to handle these situations quickly and effectively. In many ways, this is the toughest part of the manager's job because it involves dealing with unpleasant situations and making difficult decisions. It is always tempting to duck the difficult choices and to give an individual the benefit of the doubt. But keep in mind that one bad apple spoils the entire bunch – in other words, if you allow one individual to get away with behaving badly, the whole organization suffers. The title of Bob Sutton's best-selling book The No Asshole Rule captured this ...