October 17th, 2010
10:02 AM GMT
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October 17th, 2010
03:33 AM GMT
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(CNN) -- An expert in organizational psychology and the nature of great leaders is studying the reports from the Chilean mine on the role shift supervisor Luis Urzua played in keeping 33 men alive, and under control.

Bob Sutton, author of “Good Boss/Bad Boss” and Stanford professor, says “I’m quite obsessed with the feel-good stories of the miners, and I am especially interested in the competent and compassionate leadership of Luis Urzua.”

Urzua was the final miner to reach the surface.  Standing before Chilean President Sebastien Pinera, Urzua said: "A 70-day shift is a very long shift. The first days were very difficult."  Mr. Pinera responded:  "You acted like a good boss. I receive your shift."   Such was the symbolic hand-over of responsibility.

Sutton has some fascinating insights into what Urzua did, that other bosses ought to do during times of organizational strain.  Sutton challenges the notion that cutthroat leadership is the only way to make it in today’s business world.  Prediction, understanding, control, and compassion are just a few of his ingredients for leadership success during scary times.  A business leadership trainer who I worked with years ago once told me, “It’s not about perfection, it’s about connection,” which echoes Professor Sutton’s thesis that both competency and humanity are necessary components of great leadership.

Have a listen to my interview with Professor Sutton which aired on World Business Today. And check-out Sutton’s blog at: http://bobsutton.typepad.com/.  If you are a leader, or are being led, you’ll find a lot of food for thought.

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