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A Boss's Guide to Taming Your Inner Jerk

  • <p>In this excerpt from <em>GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS: How to Be the Best ... and Learn from the Worst</em>, <a href="http://www.bobsutton.net" target="_new">Robert Sutton</a> tells us how a boss can avoid being an asshole--and how to motivate employees to help keep the boss in line.</p>
  • 1. If you are a boss, assume the motto "Assholes are us" means you too, not just the other schmucks.
  • 2. Post a bosshole bounty: pay twenty dollar to anyone who tells you when you have been a jerk.
  • 3. Assign confident and sensible followers to be your bosshole monitors. Link their performance evaluation and pay to telling you when you've blown it and helping you contain your inner jerk.
  • 4. When you realize you've treated people like dirt, apologize to them and acknowledge to witnesses that such nastiness is unacceptable.
  • 5. If you are a certified asshole, or a recovering one, team up with a "toxic handler," someone more patient and better liked to coach you and clean up your messes.
  • 6. If your boss is a flaming asshole, you will probably catch the disease. Escape as fast as you can or, failing that, spend as little time around the creep as possible.
  • 7. If clients treat you like dirt, fire them if possible. If you can't, charge asshole taxes, give employees who work with them combat pay, and limit everyone's exposure to these creeps.
  • 8. Squelch your inner jerk by practicing indifference and emotional detachment when you get angry, focus on performance too much and humanity too little, or are knee-deep in a pack of assholes
  • 9. If you or your charges have been acting like assholes lately, make sure to hold meetings in a nice cool place.
  • 10. Watch the email. Remember how easy it is to spew out angry and insensitive words, or unwittingly hurt others' feelings when using this emotionally thin medium.
  • 11. Imagine it is ten years from now and you are looking back at how you've treated others. Do you think--in our followers' eyes--that you will have earned the right to be proud of yourself? Or do your people believe that when you look back, you will deserve to be ashamed of yourself?
  • <p style="font-size:small"><em>This is an excerpt from</em> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446556084/bobsutton-20" target="_new">GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS: How to Be the Best ... and Learn from the Worst</a> <em>by Robert I. Sutton, PhD. Copyright © 2010 by <a href="http://www.bobsutton.net" target="_new">Robert Sutton</a>. Reprinted by permission of Business Plus, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved.</em></p>
<p><em>Read more from </em> GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS<em>:</p>
<p><strong><a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/article/quiz-are-you-hiring-and-breeding-greedy-and-selfish-employees" target="_new">Quiz: Are You Hiring and Breeding Greedy and Selfish Employees?</a></strong> </p>
<p><strong><a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/article/are-you-working-with-energizers-or-rotten-apples" target="_new">Are You Working With Energizers or Rotten Apples?</a></strong> </p>
<p><strong><a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/user/robert-i-sutton-phd" target="_new">Robert I. Sutton's blog</a></strong> </p>
  • 01 /13

    In this excerpt from GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS: How to Be the Best ... and Learn from the Worst, Robert Sutton tells us how a boss can avoid being an asshole--and how to motivate employees to help keep the boss in line.

  • 02 /13
    1. If you are a boss, assume the motto "Assholes are us" means you too, not just the other schmucks.
  • 03 /13
    2. Post a bosshole bounty: pay twenty dollar to anyone who tells you when you have been a jerk.
  • 04 /13
    3. Assign confident and sensible followers to be your bosshole monitors. Link their performance evaluation and pay to telling you when you've blown it and helping you contain your inner jerk.
  • 05 /13
    4. When you realize you've treated people like dirt, apologize to them and acknowledge to witnesses that such nastiness is unacceptable.
  • 06 /13
    5. If you are a certified asshole, or a recovering one, team up with a "toxic handler," someone more patient and better liked to coach you and clean up your messes.
  • 07 /13
    6. If your boss is a flaming asshole, you will probably catch the disease. Escape as fast as you can or, failing that, spend as little time around the creep as possible.
  • 08 /13
    7. If clients treat you like dirt, fire them if possible. If you can't, charge asshole taxes, give employees who work with them combat pay, and limit everyone's exposure to these creeps.
  • 09 /13
    8. Squelch your inner jerk by practicing indifference and emotional detachment when you get angry, focus on performance too much and humanity too little, or are knee-deep in a pack of assholes
  • 10 /13
    9. If you or your charges have been acting like assholes lately, make sure to hold meetings in a nice cool place.
  • 11 /13
    10. Watch the email. Remember how easy it is to spew out angry and insensitive words, or unwittingly hurt others' feelings when using this emotionally thin medium.
  • 12 /13
    11. Imagine it is ten years from now and you are looking back at how you've treated others. Do you think--in our followers' eyes--that you will have earned the right to be proud of yourself? Or do your people believe that when you look back, you will deserve to be ashamed of yourself?
  • 13 /13

    This is an excerpt from GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS: How to Be the Best ... and Learn from the Worst by Robert I. Sutton, PhD. Copyright © 2010 by Robert Sutton. Reprinted by permission of Business Plus, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

    Read more from GOOD BOSS, BAD BOSS:

    Quiz: Are You Hiring and Breeding Greedy and Selfish Employees?

    Are You Working With Energizers or Rotten Apples?

    Robert I. Sutton's blog