No jerks here

Toxic workers can be very harmful to your company's health. These "workplace jerks" damage the work environment in a number of ways including personal insults, invading co-worker's personal territory, verbal and non-verbal initimidation, dirty looks, etc.

by McKinsey Quarterly Online
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Jerk bosses can lay waste to a company's human talent. They are more likely to see a faster churn rate of employees and those that remain will probably be de-motivated. One Silicon Valley firm measured the TCJ (Total Cost of Jerks) of one star salesman, whose behaviour resulted in various unnecessary costs caused by the high churn rate of his assistants, his overtime costs, his legal costs and his anger-management training. The figure came to $160,000 per year.

TCJ divides into damage to victims and witnesses; woes of certified jerks (e.g. job loss); wicked consequences for management (e.g. time spent appeasing, calming, counselling or disciplining jerks); legal and HR management costs (e.g. litigation); negative effects on organisations (e.g. reduced creativity).

There are a number of ways to make sure your company is jerk-free: make the policy of keeping out jerks public; make sure the rule influences hiring decisions; teach employees to be aggressive but in a positive way. Intel's motto is to "disagree and then commit".

Apply the rule to customers and clients as well. Stick to the rule in small ways (e.g. in the way people are treated every day). Finally, treat jerkdom as a disease and make sure you avoid being contaminated. Some times this might mean turning down a job offer.

Building the civilized workplace
Robert Sutton
The McKinsey Quarterly
Review by Morice Mendoza

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