Saturday, June 24, 2017 This Week's Paper

Arts & Entertainment: Book Review: Author finds success in book that tells bosses how not to suck

Those who have found themselves with their name on an office door or “manager” on their business cards likely don’t set out to be horrible bosses. But many of them are. Just ask the people who work for them. It’s an evolution, or devolution if you will, that often happens by mistake over time. But there is hope for these wayward bosses.

Aaron Grow, a 253-based author and business speaker, tackles bad management behaviors and proposes ways to fix them in his book, “How to Not Suck as a Manager: 5 Facts to Bring Any Boss Out of the Basement.” The 104-page book is the product of his research into the world of business leadership as well as from the stories of ineffective managers hundreds of people told him during breaks at his leadership and business presentations during the years on the lecture circuit. In his study, he asked people to share experiences related to bad managers they have had and what would they have done differently if they were the manager.

“It shouldn’t surprise us why there are so many bad managers in the workplace,” he said. “Research is clear that many managers receive no training before taking their job. It’s important to identify the most common bad manager behaviors and share information that will help all managers avoid these behaviors as they work with others. I believe that if a person is put in charge of other people, they should not suck at it. I teach workplace sanity because almost every organization has managers and team members who could be better.”

The chapter titles outline the issues at hand. “Managers Who Treat Team Members as People Don’t Suck,” “Managers Who Have Awareness at Multiple Levels Don’t Suck,” “Managers Who Know How to Practice Real Delegation Don’t Suck,” “Managers Who Take Action to Stop Non-Team Player Behaviors Don’t Suck,” and “Managers Who Communicate the Need for Small Adjustments at Work Don’t Suck.”

Nothing in the book is particularly groundbreaking, as it centers on the concept that workers are individuals with individual needs and ways of communication, and don’t want to be bad employees in the eyes of their coworkers and managers. Productivity and creativity come from mutual respect, free flows of ideas, clearly stated expectations and responsibilities as well as awareness. What makes this book worth reading is its approachable tone and matter-of-fact statements that make it easy to understand how bad managers get that way. Rather than laying blame or fault, its pages provide tips on ways anyone, and everyone, can improve.

The self-improvement section for managers is never lacking titles, but this book is simply an easy read that balances research and back-to-basics tips. Grow, armed with a Ph.D. in Educational Leardership, is the Dean of Workplace Sanity Education for Workplace Sanity Group. He has been overseeing operations in both public and private settings for more than 20 years, when he also served as a Training and Support Team Member and International Program Manager for Microsoft and Organizational Development Manager on the West Coast for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

“It’s time for every person, in every workplace, to graduate to a new level of work-life living,” Grow said. “I want all workplaces to be sane places to be. I want a higher degree of management performance, team effectiveness, communication, and for workplace interaction.” Grow’s other business and leadership titles include: “Change or Go: How to Stop Non Team Player Behavior at Work,” “Stop Pretending You’re Being Heard,” “How to Cope with a Horrible Boss,” and “You Know You Want It, Here’s How to Get It.”

More information on “How to Not Suck as a Manager,” or his other titles can be found at