The difference between how a person
treats the powerless versus the powerful
is as good a measure of human character
as I know.
― Bob Sutton, Author, The No Asshole Rule
MY FAVORITE CEO walked away from me once to go help a homeless-looking guy I had turned my back on. I figured he was just another panhandler at a busy corner and I was talking to someone important.
Turns out the guy just wanted to know if that corner was a bus stop.
I had totally misjudged him. The CEO didn't.
I told my friend later that I had been wrong. Instead of agreeing, he told me he had been raised to always treat people the same, no matter who or what they are.
That was one of the best leadership lessons I've ever had.
ROBERT I. SUTTON (born 1954) is Professor of Management Science at the Stanford Engineering School and researcher in the field of Evidence-based Management.
Sutton received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from The University of Michigan and has served on the Stanford faculty since 1983. He has taught at the Haas Business School and was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Nowadays he is an IDEO Fellow and a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Sutton is also a best-selling author and speaker. His books, many of them business bestsellers, include:
- The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Firms Turn Knowledge Into Action with Jeffrey Pfeffer
- Weird Ideas That Work: 11 ½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation
- Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management, with Jeffrey Pfeffer
- The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't
- Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be The Best...And Learn From The Worst
- Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More without Settling for Less with Huggy Rao