Do you work with jerks? Are there days when you are a jerk?
Dealing with nasty people is often our most perplexing challenge at work. For years I have been of the belief that there aren’t bad people. Rather people sometimes just are not on their best behavior for a variety of understandable reasons.
Based on all the questions I get about how to handle the worst of the worst, I’m starting to believe there are some bad eggs out there. A couple probably work with you.
So how do you deal with them? To find out I read The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton. Sorry about the language…his words, not mine. He offered a variety of tips and suggestions. Here are some of my favorite pearls of wisdom from the book.
- Fight as if you are right. Listen as if you are wrong.
- Disagree and then commit. Second guessing and complaining robs the team of its chances to succeed.
- Delay your arguments until all the pertinent facts have been gathered.
- Having one jerk around might be a good thing. It shows all the other employees how not to behave. Just don’t promote that person, or you’ll send the wrong message.
- Researchers have demonstrated that we can “catch” bad behavior if we are surrounded by it. Think of it as “asshole poisoning.” Don’t join the jerks. And if you have, get out of there as quickly as possible. Remember Leonardo Da Vinci’s advice: “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” Stay away from or at least limit your interaction with these people.
- Adopt a frame that turns your attention to ways in which you are no better or worse than other people. Instead focus on the ways that you are similar. This helps you keep from turning into a jerk yourself.
This book takes a couple hours to read, less to skim. Give it a look.