Kicking butt is a time-honored management technique. In Martin Zwillling’s review of Managing to Make a Difference on Inc.com, it was included among other techniques Larry and I offer in the book as one of the “10 Management Lessons They Don't Teach You in Business School.”

Like any technique, kicking butt can be helpful for improving performance when used in the right way, at the right time and in the right circumstances. Also, like any technique, it can be ineffective and even harmful if it is overused or misused.

Listen in to our podcast as Larry Sternberg and I discuss questions like these with our friend and colleague, Kyle Bruss:

  • What can be accomplished through kicking butt in the right way?
  • What should you never expect to accomplish through this technique?
  • When is kicking butt most likely to backfire?
  • What is the most important foundation you have to build with people in order to make kicking butt an effective management technique?
  • How does EQ (emotional intelligence) play into this topic?
  • How can you start a positive and productive conversation with a manager who overuses kicking butt as a management technique?

On all our podcasts and blog posts, you have an opportunity to talk back to us through comments and emails. We hope to hear from you! Until next time, manage to make a difference every day!

+ Larry Sternberg, J.D. and Kim Turnage, Ph.D.


This post highlights Chapter 19 of Managing to Make a Difference (Wiley), a handbook for hitting the sweet spot of middle management. Click here to see posts on previous chapters. Next up: Emphasize the Why. Connect with Kim Turnage and Larry Sternberg on LinkedIn to see their latest updates.

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