The Eagle Blog

McKinsey's thoughts on jerks!

This morning I dropped some dry cleaning off and as always the two owners of the Monson Cleaner on Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa were smiling, welcoming and made me feel good! What a great way to start my day! What a nice environment to work in! If you live in the area I recommend them highly!

Colleen Francis a noted sales trainer that we work with at Eagle has always been of the opinion that being nice was one of the qualities of the top sales producers. In support of Colleen’s contention I recently saw a McKinsey report called “Building the civilized workplace” which says that nasty people don’t just make others feel miserable, they create economic problems for their companies!

The author lists the possible areas of damage that jerks can cause in a company. There is the productivity and morale issues that affect people around the jerk, both victims and witnesses to the behavior. There is a reluctance by others to work with the jerk, which causes issues. Management time is spent in dealing with all of the fallout. There may well be legal and HR related costs caused by their behavior. When the jerk is in a position of power, or if the organization has a culture that encourages the “jerk” behavior then systemic issues occur throughout the organization. Turnover, difficulty in hiring, poor general productivity and behaviors are all rife.

The article even lists a “dirty dozen” of “jerk-like” behaviors.

1. Personal insults.
2. Invading coworker personal territory.
3. Uninvited physical contact.
4. Threats and intimidation, verbal and non-verbal.
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used an insult delivery mechanism.
6. Withering emails.
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate victims.
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals.
9. Rude interruptions.
10. Two-faced attacks.
11. Dirty looks.
12. Treating people as if they were invisible.

The article talks about instigating a “no jerk” rule in your company. Developing a culture that does not allow that kind of behavior, does not hire those kind of people and will not even deal with clients or suppliers who exhibit jerk-like tendencies.

Life is way too short to put up with jerks at work, and I’m sure many “jerks” don’t even realize the impact of their behavior. Perhaps we should all adopt the “no jerks” rule, life would be that much more pleasant. Clearly my favorite dry cleaner and one of Canada’s top sales trainers subscribe to the same theory, and I enjoy my interactions with both.


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9 thoughts on “McKinsey's thoughts on jerks!

  1. Kevin,

    I really appreciated reading your thoughts this morning and I think you are on to something. A “no jerk” diet for the company and all who work there. I’d team that up with a “no complaint” diet. One thing that helps fuel those negative behaviours is an environment of complaining. When I get the urge to complain, I am now willing to make a request instead. (i.e. take a step back, stop yelling, let me finish my sentence) Complaining only reinforces a “victim” and “villian” standoff. Taking action by expressing authentically when interacting with “jek” behaviour is the best way to stay in the flow myself and create an opening for awareness for the other person.
    Michael Deloughery

  2. Kevin,

    I really appreciated reading your thoughts this morning and I think you are on to something. A “no jerk” diet for the company and all who work there. I’d team that up with a “no complaint” diet. One thing that helps fuel those negative behaviours is an environment of complaining. When I get the urge to complain, I am now willing to make a request instead. (i.e. take a step back, stop yelling, let me finish my sentence) Complaining only reinforces a “victim” and “villian” standoff. Taking action by expressing authentically when interacting with “jek” behaviour is the best way to stay in the flow myself and create an opening for awareness for the other person.
    Michael Deloughery

  3. Mike … I agree wholeheartedly! I have blogged a lot about having a positive attitude, so I am a big fan. Your thoughts on approaching the jerk in the workplace is right in line with McKinsey. Don’t let them get away with it! Cheers Kevin

  4. Mike … I agree wholeheartedly! I have blogged a lot about having a positive attitude, so I am a big fan. Your thoughts on approaching the jerk in the workplace is right in line with McKinsey. Don’t let them get away with it! Cheers Kevin

  5. I’m guessing the covert consultant would (a) not want to have lunch with the “jerks” and (b) choose to spend more Sunday afternoon time on airplanes so he/she can work with nice people! 🙂

  6. I’m guessing the covert consultant would (a) not want to have lunch with the “jerks” and (b) choose to spend more Sunday afternoon time on airplanes so he/she can work with nice people! 🙂

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