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Be a Good Boss – The Provide a Human Shield Mindset

Good bosses play a critical role in helping people achieve success at work. It could be the most important and rewarding role you will ever play in business.

My coaching clients repeatedly tell me stories of how a good boss removed obstacles so that they could get their work done with minimal hassle. I could experience my client’s level of engagement soar when they felt their boss had their back.

Stanford University management professor Robert I. Sutton, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller The No Asshole Rule, knows about bosses. He has received thousands of emails about the bad ones since the 2007 publication of that title. In his most recent book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best...and Learn from the Worst (Business Plus, 2010) Sutton focuses on what it takes to be a better boss.

Provide a Human Shield

Great bosses protect their people, going to bat for resources and support. Even when they may suffer personally, great bosses are willing to take such risks. They shield their employees from red tape, meddlesome executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings and a host of other time wasters.

“A good boss takes pride in serving as a human shield, absorbing and deflecting heat from superiors and customers, doing all manner of boring and silly tasks and battling back against every idiot and slight that makes life unfair or harder than necessary on his or her charges,” Sutton writes.

You know you’ve been successful when your subordinates believe you have their backs.

The Questions to Ask Yourself

     Human Shield

a.  Do you see your job as caring for and protecting your people?

b.  Do you fight for them when necessary?

c.  Do you consider it too much trouble or too risky to battle superiors on their behalf?

d.  When your people screw up, do you take the hit or hang them out to dry?

e.  When you screw up, do you admit it?

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching to help leaders protect their people by go to bat for them providing resources and support?  Leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to fully engage employees and customers.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Do I see my job as caring for and protecting my people?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching for leaders who can admit when they make mistakes.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you create a culture where all employees are fully engaged. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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