20070904 cover of crazy bosses 18
Cover of Crazy Bosses - 


TESS VIGELAND: No doubt those cabbies in New York have spent some time trying to figure out how to get what they want from their bosses. Perhaps they could take a cue from the new FX show "Damages" -- where two characters recently tried to figure out what might make law firm honcho Patty Hewes appreciate their efforts.

[Audio clip from "Damages"]

And if that doesn't work? Well Gil Schwartz, aka Stanley Bing, has written several books about bossdom including his latest, "Crazy Bosses." Mr. Bing thanks for being here.

STANLEY BING: Oh, it's a pleasure.

VIGELAND: Now, in your real life, Mr. Gil Schwartz, you're a manager. So, um . . .

BING: Oh, please, don't demote me. I'm an executive vice president . . .

VIGELAND: Oh, you are a super-duper manager.

BING: Exactly. I am what I used to make fun of.

VIGELAND: All right. Well, so, given that, has kind of all of your research caused you to analyze yourself as a boss?

BING: Well, constantly, because I'm also a narcissist. So, you know, I'm always interested in myself. Actually, I've noticed in many ways, like one of those science fiction movies . . . You know, where people . . . The mad scientist tests things on himself and at the end goes completely out of his mind. That's kind of a genre I understand because, you know, when I began in business I was -- I won't say I was sane -- but I was relatively rational and sort of understood my place in the universe. But I noticed that as I get to be more and more of a boss and have more and more people that I am responsible for -- and, in a way, to, if you know what I mean -- I notice that I'm now displaying in gorgeous technicolor many of the things that I write about.

VIGELAND: So you talked about performing some tests on yourself as a boss. Can you give me an example?

BING: Well, here's one that I think not only bosses but anybody could try on themselves -- how long can you bear to be away from your Blackberry?

VIGELAND: The Crackberry?

BING: The Crackberry. I see people, you know, in the street. And, you know, between the cell phone and the Blackberry, no one's actually in the moment.

VIGELAND: But how does that effect what kind of boss you are?

BING: Well, what that does is that feeds control freaks with a constant, steady stream of stuff that needs to be controlled. That's what's making people more crazy. And what happens is that everybody goes crazy in a different way. In other words, some people get extremely morose. Other people get very paranoid. You know, it's really like a graded scale of pathology. But it all comes from the same root source, which is, you know, basically personalities under too much duress.

VIGELAND: So, this is kind of how you've analyzed yourself as a manager, as a big-time boss. What about how you analyze the people above you.

BING: Well, they're . . . you know, they're exemplary people. And I admire them very much.

VIGELAND: Is it review time for you?

BING: No. I analyze everybody. I hope that it makes me a better employee, if you know what I mean.

VIGELAND: Stanley Bing, or Gil Schwartz -- whatever your name is -- thanks so much for coming in.

BING: Tess, I really enjoyed it. Thanks.

Follow Tess Vigeland at @tessvigeland