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anton

"Sometimes there is upside to having an asshole on your team"

Whereas I agree with you, I feel it is not something that ought to be encouraged. Too many of them will pop up everywhere without trying, no need to help the process along.

Lucas

Yet more evidence that a successful boss and a good boss can be mutually exclusive: http://www.bnet.com/blog/drug-business/how-not-to-be-a-ceo-former-pfizer-chief-ousted-over-micro-management-and-copters/9270

Jen

Personally, I think finding a great boss is such a challenge because we all look at how to do this in the wrong way. Most people, including horrible bosses, are either unaware of - or choose to ignore - who they are, how they behave & the consequences of what they're doing. So you can ask questions about their management style, how well the share information, feedback, etc and you will be given answers that may or may not work for you. What will matter is that these answers will likely have nothing to do with reality since few people really are what they say they are. We can all hope (and pray!) that WYSIWYG with prospective employers but I think the reality falls very short for most of us - hence this blog, The No Asshole Rule and this popular movie.

How to solve this dilemma? Not sure but I think we should pay much closer attention to our most primitive reactions during an interview (that is as long as we are psychologically integrated enough to recognize them), which means responding to our flight or flight response, our anxiety response (and no I'm not talking about those butterflies in your stomach, which are likely a sign of performance anxiety). I think a lot of people could respond to their anxiety responses appropriately if they didn't always and absolutely allow their intellect or thoughts to control what they do so, for instance, you get a flight response in the interview but you ignore it because this company is a Fortune 500 company, and you start doubting yourself, you say that wasn't a flight response, just nerves. Then you get offered the job and wonder why you are working for an asshole . . . just my thoughts

tim

iF ITS A MALE BOSS the one sure fire sign of an asshole is the pinky ring. if he's got one it's a sign to bet the farm. female boss, just count the bling. if its excessive you can bet she's an asshole.

John

Here is a great one. Find out how any friends, realities or children of friends work for the company. I call them the "protected class". Employees who are incompetent but their bosses are blamed for failing to motivate them.

Michael

How about asking, "Would you mind if I speak to a few of the other people who report directly to you?"

G.Whitfield

This is a really good list. The trouble is finding someone to talk to who might have this information, but if you can it's great. I also agree with K.Sol; I have seen that too many times. Also bosses who try to seem too "cool" in the interview can be trouble.

Janet

@A. White, it's been suggested to me that you could ask, how does the team celebrate achievements?

clk

As k.sol rightfully said, the ability to really listen somehow dissipates when one moves up the hierarchy.

The other trait commonly seen is to "do as I say and not as I act" i.e. you're not entitled to be an asshole; I'm the only one here!

A White

That’s a good list, particularly when applying for a role within a current organisation, or in the rare occasions when applying to a new organisation and are able to ask questions of people who know the hiring boss.

But when you are at an interview for a role – what are one or two good questions to get to the heart of this? I’ve given up asking ‘what is your management style?’ because, as you point out elsewhere, few people have a good sense of what it is like to work for them. At a recent interview, I had some success with asking about the culture of the team, and the intangible qualities they were looking for, which yielding an interesting conversation.

Any thoughts or tips?

k.sol

I've found that when you go for a job interview, if the boss spends way more time talking than listening, it's not a good sign.

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