19 Aug

Dealing With Jerks At Work

Posted in News on 19.08.11 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we took a look at an interesting article that claimed that office jerks tend to make more money than their more friendly counterparts. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? Many workers know at least one person in their office that they are not big fans of. So why do they get all the fun? When you think about it, aren’t they actually bad for business?

Dealing with the so-called office “jerk” may prove to be one of the most harrowing tasks an employee can have in the workplace each day. Author Alexander Kjerulf is considered a happiness expert of sorts, and has written a number of books detailing how one can be happy in the workplace.

There is a way to deal with jerks, he writes on PositiveSharing.com. The self-professed Chief Happiness Officer has a few tips that may help you deal with your own office annoyance, that we’d like to share with you today. The first is to adhere to “The No A-hole Rule”. Kjerulf’s description is just a bit more crude…but you get the picture.

In fact, the rule refers to a book written by Robert Sutton. Citing it, Kjerulf insists that limiting jerks in the office starts with the hiring managers. It’s important, of course, to hire candidates who have strong skills that also include personable characteristics. Have a “no jerk rule” in your office and this should easily prevent many of them from even getting through the door.

There are a few who slip through the cracks, however. And as Kjerulf puts it, “jerks are bad for you and bad for business”. They actually carry high hidden costs as their unpleasantness can cause a disruption in the workplace, slowing production down significantly.

Results of “jerkiness” in the workplace can include a reduction of motivation and an increase in absenteeism. Naturally, team spirit gets diminished and deadlines can get missed. It probably goes without saying that it is important to screen out unpleasant employees during the hiring process, if possible.

Kjerulf writes that “Southwest Airlines…when they’re hiring flight attendants, applicants are flown in from all over the US, naturally on Southwest flights. On the boarding pass they get it says ‘Job applicant’ and if the flight attendants on that flight notice an applicant behaving rudely, they tell the recruiting staff and the interview is over before it even begins.”

Finally, Kjerulf reminds us that most people are nice and there are actually very few who are jerks. Being annoyed by someone at work doesn’t necessarily make that person a jerk, so it’s your responsibility to handle certain matters in a respectful way to see if they can be settled peacefully. After all, you don’t want to the one that everyone else considers to be a jerk!

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