Workers opting out of working for jerks

For almost two years, couches have been offices. Colleagues are instant message avatars. And a work force that had shocking changes imposed on it has reconsidered its basic assumptions about how people treat each other in corporate life.

“The tolerance for dealing with jerky bosses has decreased,” observed Angelina Darrisaw, chief executive of the firm C-Suite Coach, who saw a spike of interest in her executive coaching services last year. “You can’t just wake up and lead people,” she added. “Companies are thinking about how do we make sure our managers are actually equipped to manage.”

“. . . common jerk qualities are blaming colleagues, refusing feedback and talking about people behind their backs. He believes that screening for nonjerkiness is just as important as looking for technical skills.

Jerkiness, like incompetency, takes a toll on productivity. And competent jerks who rise through the ranks can have wide-reaching effects, especially in a corporate culture that puts more emphasis on output than on how the work gets done. People get gold stars for performance, not collegiality.

Baird, the financial services firm, took the principle a step further by codifying it in policy. Employees are informed during their orientation of the company’s “no asshole rule” — it’s even written into training material. Leslie Dixon, the head of human resources, has fired people for violating it.

Reporting to work has always meant accepting a variety of unpleasantries: commutes, precoffee chitchat, people who would like you to do what they tell you to do even if it’s not yet 10 a.m. But for some, the last year has rebalanced the power seesaw between worker and boss. Maybe it was the surge of people quitting: A record high 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in November. Maybe it was the ebbing will-they-won’t-they tides of return to office plans. Whatever the change, more workers are feeling empowered to call out their managers. Cont.

Source: the New York Times