Why You Need The No Asshole Rule

McKinsey offers an excerpt entitled Building The Civilized Workplace (you need to register in order to read this) from Robert Sutton’s new book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace And Surviving One That Isn’t. The article includes a checklist for the most common behaviours as well as what jerks can cost your business, both financially as well as in terms of employee well-being and health.

So far, so good. Have you ever asked yourself how to deal with a jerk on your team? One method is to set a boundary, to say that jerkish behaviour will not be tolerated “We have a no-jerk rule around here”. The acid test comes, when someone acts like a jerk. Unless you call them on it and, where appropriate, discipline them or even fire them, the behaviour becomes established as acceptable. If you want to use the last option, you need to weave the rule into your employment contracts.

This is not a call for a wimps paradise. It is possible to “fight fair”, a.k.a discuss constructively. One way to encourage this is to treat your staff like adults and avoid talking down to them like children. The example starts from the top and will be adopted by all staff pretty quickly. You can accelerate this process with targeted training.

You will find more ideas in the article and even more in the book itself.


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