Every boss has to be willing to be the bad guy/gal from time to time. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. But occasional unpopularity, in a good cause, is very different from people seeing you as a permanent jerk.

Do you know what could make your employees see you that way?

Big brass
Bob Sutton, a Stanford prof and management blogger, has put together a BRASS test (Boss Reality Assessment Survey System) that employees can take to determine whether their boss is a (ahem) BRASShole. The test (http://goodbadboss.com) is aimed at employees, but bosses who are big enough to look at themselves in the mirror may want to check it out, too.

Here are some key excerpts from the 20-item, true-or-false questionnaire:

  • My boss doesn’t know when to shut up and leave us alone.
  • My boss leaves me feeling drained and de-energized after even a short conversation.
  • My boss clings to plans and opinions despite overwhelming evidence that he or she is dead wrong.
  • My boss is blind to his or her own weaknesses.
  • My boss does a lousy job of comforting and calming us during tough times.

Anything there that could be you? Maybe you have some work to do.

But take heart: According to Sutton, you can get negative scores in half the 20 categories and still be seen by your people as a “pretty good” boss.

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