Sunday, April 22, 2007

The No A**hole Rule: Building a civilized workplace and surviving one that isn't, by Robert Sutton

Great book. It has some useful things to say about what it's like to work (or live) in a culture where being a jerk is either rewarded, or just tolerated. Sutton gives an example of a salesman who was a high producer but who was making the people around him miserable. His company totaled up the amount of lost productivity and docked this guy's bonus that amount at the end of the year -- the TCA (total cost of a**hole).
Sutton is not saying that your workplace should be all nice, all time time. He quotes Karl Weick's approach to confrontation in the workplace: "Fight as if you are right; listen as though you are wrong."
The other thing I found interesting is that jerkdom is contagious. If you work with jerks, you are more likely to exhibit jerk behavior. And it can happen to *anyone* -- no one is immune from occasionally being a jerk. Just make sure you are not chronically being a jerk. 

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