The upshot of my last post here on Some Bosses Live in a Fool’s Paradise is that the best bosses stay in tune with how their words and deeds are construed by their followers, but there is a lot about being a human being and wielding power over others that makes such perspective-taking difficult.

One area where self-awareness is particularly hard to gain has to do with one’s level of assertiveness. Bosses often can’t tell when they’re pushing people too hard versus not challenging them sufficiently. But as research conducted at Columbia University by Daniel Ames and Frank Flynn suggests (see this pdf), striking the right balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough is immensely important to being (and being perceived as) a great boss.

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