advertisement
advertisement

Jerks at Work

A friend of mine called tonight to complain about her boss. As I listened, I agreed that her boss was completely out of line in calling her on the carpet in front of her colleagues. She felt terrible, she was in tears on the phone and couldn’t let it go. It reminded me of the interviews that Sharon and I did as we collected our research. So many people we talked to fell out of love with their jobs because they hated their boss. (Well, hate may be a harsh word, but they described stories that just left them plain disenchanted, disappointed, and disillusioned!)

A friend of mine called tonight to complain about her boss. As I listened, I agreed that her boss was completely out of line in calling her on the carpet in front of her colleagues. She felt terrible, she was in tears on the phone and couldn’t let it go. It reminded me of the interviews that Sharon and I did as we collected our research. So many people we talked to fell out of love with their jobs because they hated their boss. (Well, hate may be a harsh word, but they described stories that just left them plain disenchanted, disappointed, and disillusioned!)

advertisement
advertisement

Sam Culbert’s book Don’t Kill the Bosses! has some great ideas. Sam talks about what’s missing in boss/subordinate relationships, and how to make them work.

I thought the article that Warren Bennis wrote for FC about the New York Times/Jayson Blair incident was superb. In it Warren said, “It doesn’t matter how many prizes you win if you damage your real prize – your talent – in the process.”

I also thought that Amy Joyce had a great story about a boss who “hoarded” talent in her Washington Post article. This boss kept all the good work to himself. (One way for an employee to fall out of love with the job!) Another employee in her article complained about how long it took for her boss to act on any suggestions. Of course, the punch line is good communications and honesty will always helps someone love their job just a bit more.

There was a great article in American Way called “Monster Managers”. It said 42% of US workers reported incidents of yelling and verbal abuse in their workplaces. And, it said that 30% of workers admitted to yelling at their co-workers themselves.

Daniel Goleman wrote a great book on the subject, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama. He talks about bosses who alienate people with their angry outbursts and says that most business situations are really not emergencies.

We even did a Jerk Survey of our own. You can check out the reactions of over 2,000 people to the question, “what would make you walk?” Overall, belitting people in front of others, lying, and condescending got the highest points.

advertisement

I fear that jerk-like behavior will grow unless there are more ramifications for it exhibiting it.

advertisement
advertisement