IT Employment optimize

IT managers: Stop making excuses for the jerks on your team

You can't change someone's personality but you can darn well make it clear that certain behaviors resulting from that personality won't be tolerated.

There's a small restaurant/bar near where I live that serves great fried chicken. The chicken is excellent and the location of the place makes it a great hangout for the locals. But the problem is, it's run by a guy we like to call the Chicken Nazi. I'm not sure if he has a personality disorder or just woke up on the wrong side of the crib all those years ago, but he's the rudest, grouchiest person I've ever met. It's fairly common to see one of his waitresses crying. He's not much nicer to his customers.

Yet he stays in business year after year. Is the chicken that good? Is the camaraderie among the regular customers so valuable that everyone is willing to overlook this cretin? Yes and yes. Frankly, I wonder why one of those waitresses hasn't popped him upside his head by now. I'm not advocating violence, but I think at some point something has to be done to show this guy that he can't get away with his bad behavior.

I'd venture to say that all of us at some point have encountered a co-worker who, for some reason, is perennially excused for bad behavior. That person might have some quality that seems irreplaceable-he's a mad coding machine, a gifted IT troubleshooter, a moneymaker-so everyone just works around the less desirable qualities.

In these situations, the emotional burden falls on that person's co-workers. It is the coworker who has to endure the temper tantrums and the arrogance toward end-users, or who has to sit by as the "gifted" employee monopolizes meetings with attention-seeking monologues. I just don't understand why some of these behaviors are allowed to continue.

Managers should not make exceptions for rude behavior by employees. You can't change someone's personality but you can darn well make it clear that certain behaviors resulting from that personality won't be tolerated. Managers should deal with poor attitude and bad behavior as promptly as they would behavior that costs their company money.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

58 comments
econrad
econrad

1) I was hired to do a job 2) You were hired to do a job 3) When your boss allows you to be a failure, that should not result in additional work on my Department. 4) When it does, we see what it takes to get the job completed successfully. (slight grumble) 5) When you know that your job is now on the line because of your inability to adapt to a changing work enviroment, do not start back-stabbing my Department; the same Department that saved the day when your boss allowed you to work on being a failure. (grumbling a little more audible) 6) Complaining to HR? Really? Because you were asked to explain how you are supposed to complete a process? A process you do everyday; like 30 or 40 times a day! But we are the bad guys for making you feel inadequate. (warming up the pipes!!) 7) Called in to HR. Told that my attitude is upsetting (insert untrained employee name, or 'best friend' manager type name here). Explain situation, and quickly realize that my chest (yes, I am male) doesn't offer the HR Manager anything to divert his attention to while talking. 8) Resigned to the fact that compaines allow and encourage managers and employees to be complete failures........................let the screaming being. Have a great day! ;)

windson_pandurao
windson_pandurao

What you told is obviously correct. But when you reach the position of manager you to think like a psycho and indulge in your teams personal life and start commenting on it too. It must change. Really awsome post. Keep it up

Ternarybit
Ternarybit

I truly hate you. I really do. I don't like to hate people, but, you're just so.... bad. It's like you roll up every apologist trait in society into one gigantic ball of epic failure. You see, I would agree with your articles in general and on principle, except they always have the slant this one has: "The real problem is the people who actually contribute things" You may not realize it, but the way your article is worded, it's an indictment against talented people. Should they be arrogant and shitty towards people? No, but the reality is that it's often this type of person who is the cult of personality around which clients and projects hang. This is usually due in no small part to the fact that technical/real skill is frequently coupled with a strong personality. I have far more of an issue with people who are jerks, and are also do nothings. I only care about big mouths if they don't have big talent to back them up. I'm really tired of feelings and emotions driving business, that's the number on cause of business failure and useless, retired in place employees. I would rather deal with an egotist for a year than the guy who relies on HR to solve all his problems and never attempts to arbitrate anything with coworkers before escalating it for a single day. I can summarize the reason that behavior is generally tolerated: The talented and the gifted produce and make money. Business isn't about well-wishing, charity, good intentions or feelings. It's about making sure everyone has a job, and the work gets done. Get over it.

Kismet'sMom
Kismet'sMom

I am such a jerk that I copied and posted your words next to my computer screen. See, sometimes I forget to be a jerk and end up fuming about having to cancel weekend plans or working into the dead of night while my openly jerky co-worker never sees the office after 4:00pm because I worry about being "nice always" and "working and playing well with others". Well, not anymore, thanks to you. I guess I can smile while I tell him what to do with it, though, can't I? However, I'm not enough of a jerk to post it next to my computer without properly crediting you for your clarity and sanity. Seriously, you need to publish it as a motivational/mental health/inspirational poster! Think about it. Every IT person would buy one.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

solely to the title, and not specifically to Toni: Why not? We make excuses for jerks everywhere else. :|

rtfm-please
rtfm-please

'stuff' begins at the top- smack the exec p's and vp's, ceo's first, then middle mgt and so on and so on, before worrying about the little teams! remember us- we are just the worthless servants! who cares anyway? isnt the point to screw the customer out of every dime and piss them off too! please read the terms and conditions located in the library of congress.

mhorlandi
mhorlandi

What about the other way round? what does happen if the jerk is not an employee but the employeer or your boss?

newhorizon7
newhorizon7

I symphathise with people whose bosses are jerks. I think they should never lead teams and companies should realise the disruption it causes, not to mention morale and unproductivity it creates. If these people need to be kept in the company, do it by other means. Leadership roles should only be given to people with proven leadership skills because that is quality that cannot be truly learnt.

emaildofabiano
emaildofabiano

The problem will endure until the day people decide to stop eating at the jerk's place. But... will them? Will shareholders stop investing their money on jerk-powered good performing companies? No, they will not! Will managers stop excusing jerks who deliver what pay them their beloved bonuses? No, they will not! Depressed? Get a life!

dgoodale
dgoodale

The rude co-worker isn't the problem. The problem is the manager. Of course the manager knows he/she should deal with the issue. Writing an article about the issue isn't going to cause a weak manager to spontaneously grow a spine. My manager is MUCH more likely to tell me to address the issue myself than to stand up to the jerk causing the problem. This leaves the problem in the co-workers' court. Personally, I find that "power words" that cause HR people to have knee jerk reactions to have the best chance of getting results. "Hostile work environment" seems to work fairly well where I work....and it's really a great catch all because it's true. The jerks ARE causing the work environment to be hostile because THEY are hostile.

SGEE
SGEE

I want to try the Chicken Nazi's fried chicken!

baronfunke
baronfunke

In my opinion, the larger problem is that people in general tend to be much more inconsiderate of other people. Behavior is one thing, just stop to think about all the other people your actions will affect before acting that way. As someone said earlier, we are ALL jerks at one point or another, but at times it can be justified - just spare a thought for others, instead of being focused on the world inside your skin.

docmac100
docmac100

What I'm finding is that as women take over offices, (and they are because they are attending college at a greater rate, graduating at a greater rate, and making better grades than their male counterparts) there is less and less room for indivual personalities. I've seen men get in trouble for having a heated argument (not debate) which got loud enough to be heard outside the office door which was closed. Now the argument was between them and they resolved it and continued to work together sucessfully, but they were both called into HR to discuss their behavior because several of the women sitting outside the office felt their was a "problem". Meanwhile, there are various groups of women in the office that never argue with one another, but consistently and passively do things to impede one another. This article seems to me to point out what are sterotypically male traits without saying anything about mens behavior. And the reality is Super Stars are just that, They can do something that is hard to find in your run of the mill employee, so yes, you sometimes have to put up with them. People with great intuition about their jobs are not always easily replaceable. I know there's going to be some hate mail about this but it's true.

Triznoz
Triznoz

Well some great comment there but here's a serious warning the biggest IT jerk in the entire world has the initials DJ if you come across these come back to me and I'll tell you how to avoid disaster. Dr. Dan Gerusjerkspozza

ogookafor
ogookafor

I also though i was going to get something from this article; some kind of solution but it ended up reminding me of those jerks.

siouxwarrior67
siouxwarrior67

thought this article was going to be filled with good advice on how to deal with bad employees and co-workers. But instead you used it to vent about your so-called "Chicken Nazi", when you really have something valuable to contribute to the IT community then please bring it on. But please do not waste our time with your ranting and raving over personal dillema's!!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It had the poor fortune of having a very belligerent blacksmith. So one sad day that blacksmith killed a man in a fit of anger. The punishment for that was death. Now the village elders were in a pinch, the village would be hurt by not having a blacksmith, and getting a new one was in no way an easy matter, nor guaranteed of success. So, in the end their decision was this: Seeing as how we only have one blacksmith, but two bakers, we'll execute one of the bakers in place of the blacksmith. Clever, right? -That's what letting the loose cannons run rampant amounts to.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Stop voting for them isn't it? Every one of the traits that you have gone on about is what makes people want to vote for a Politician. Perhaps if we stopped voting them into office they would learn to behave and the ones that follow them would not learn the bad habits that gets them to the top and elected. ;) Of course in the short term there would be no Politician's but as was said in Yes Minister [b]The Queen wants the business of Government to continue when there is a change of Government so she made the Public Service.[/b] I'm supposing that the same could be said for the US except you would need to substitute the words The Citizens for the Queen. ;) Incidental if you can stand it, it would also mean that those current Politician's would no longer have a job and a place to go to so they would be let loose on the streets to cause even more damage till they are either killed off by someone that they push too far or learn the errors of their ways if that is at all possible. :0 Col

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

You almost have a either-or situation when it comes to a jerk..who I hesitate to call a professional... Is it worth your time, effort or even job to deal with this problem, or should you just LITERALLY walk away from the problem and go to your new job you have researched ( and probably sewed up BEFORE tackling this issue )? Remember, getting a paycheck is the primary goal to most job seekers. Company office political behavior is secondary unless it is ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR ( and that opens up another can of worms ). You have to plan for the ultimate bad case scenario if you take this issue to STUPIDVISORS or HR..... So be prepared to leave involuntarily unless you have everything in place to WALK OUT ON THE SPOT!!! The funny thing in my case at AMD was that certain changes were made by HR BECAUSE I LEFT ON THE SPOT!!!! It seems that a steady stream of very good people had left in the previous months and my abrupt leaving kinda was the last straw for both some of my coworkers AND HR! So the bottom line is: IS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE JERK WORTH YOUR JOB? For many people the answer is NO. So the jerk keeps getting enabled...

galach
galach

Recently, I was having similar problems with a coworker. I had tried to talk about it with my boss, without any sucess. So I hired a lawyer. The same time my boss received a letter from my lawyer, the problems stoped.

machine2240
machine2240

Way to take your crappy experience and apply it to your job, creative :)

felipeduamaral
felipeduamaral

We can't tolerate this bad behavior from our managers, but this can make us quit our jobs... This is a very difficult situation.

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

Toni wrote, ". . . but I think at some point something has to be done to show this guy that he can???t get away with his bad behavior." Actually, the Chicken Nazi can get away with his bad behavior. Really, people do put up with bad behavior all of the time. People weigh these things all of the time - on the plus and minus side of things. Personally, I would not tolerate it on my team. The team is more important than its players. But I don't hire these undesirables. You can see evidence of their bad behavior on their resumes, in chatting with former managers and co-workers, and sometimes, in the interview itself.

lkberqu
lkberqu

I believe the key to dealing with difficult people is to truly understand and get to know them. There is a greater underlying issue other than the guy is just a jerk. To lead someone you must understand them, be willing to listen to them and give them the tools to grow. If you truly have their best interest at heart, they will grow to trust you but you must authentically care about what is going on with them. You must understand what motivates them, truly listen for what the real issue is and then help lead them and help them see the negative impact they are having on the team and how they can change that. The book Difficult Conversations gives some great tips on how to start that dialog.

mattohare
mattohare

That is, going from other blogs you've posted. LOL

maclovin
maclovin

"Is the chicken that good? Is the camaraderie among the regular customers so valuable that everyone is willing to overlook this cretin? Yes and yes. Frankly, I wonder why one of those waitresses hasn???t popped him upside his head by now." My turn: Frankly, I wonder how you can consider all these things and say that food is more important than the way a human being is treated. You can find good food elsewhere, this asshole should be put out of business. If I heard the staff being treated in such a manner in any place, I'd get up and walk out. By staying there, you ARE condoning his temperament and treatment of his employees, so, you're not overlooking it. Congratulations, you are now part of the problem. I mean seriously dude, if they're leaving in tears on a regular basis, someone needs to stand up for them....you can find a waitressing job anywhere, this prick should be put out on his ass.

ashlandit
ashlandit

What are we really talking about here? While everybody does hate jerks, and jerks eventually get told they're jerks... I couldn't help thinking this entire time that MOST people are jerks. They just don't have enough going for them that they can truly explore their inner jerk, which makes them jealous of jerks who do, which makes them very contemplative and competitive. So instead of talking about bad social behavior, which is absolutely rampant and not simply true of one guy who makes it a little too obvious... I think what's being discussed here is the difference between competent jerks and incompetent jerks. Competent jerks are constantly being stalked by incompetent jerks who think their modified horrible behavior is a product of good ethics, when in reality they're just trying to start conspiracies against those rare individuals who make them ashamed that they are forced to be so docile. Bottom line, we can all be jerks, but it takes a special kind of jerk to gang up on one to "show" him what isn't true--that conspiracy is better than achievement.

chilakwad
chilakwad

The manager should be fair and deal with the bully immidiately. Before doing that, should also consider the fall-out of confrontation. If that means back-up plan, then should keep that ready first before taking on the person. But it should be a professional approach rather than a reaction.

Rob C
Rob C

I have worked in IT (in large Banks and large Telecommunication company) for 25 years. If I could go back in time, to eliminate ONLY ONE OF THESE - - Jerk employees - Jerk Managers It would be the jerk Managers. In fact if it was not for the Jerk Managers, I would still be working in IT

dandick
dandick

If the problem is interpersonal between you and a peer, unless that person's behavior is affecting several people, do your best to learn ways to cope and deal with the difficult person effectively. Don't go looking for those overgrown juvenile advice columns for good ways to get back at the person but look for something smart that will provide good enduring results and will not backfire. Listen actively. Guide the conversation with questions. Don't attack. If you need to express displeasure, try the old "I feel X when you do Y" line. They cannot argue with you about how you feel, but they may come back and say something mean in return like telling you you deserved it or to get over it or grow up and learn not to be so sensitive. Jerks do that. But, you can ask the person what they hope to accomplish and why they think this behavior will solve their problem rather than turn everyone against them and make things harder for them. Second, be aware of what is and is not your responsibility. As employees, we all have an obligation to contribute to the betterment of our company and our environment. We're not paid to tear it down. Nor are we paid to give our managers trouble by bringing to them more pain and problems than solutions. So, if you can keep your own monkeys on your own back where they can be nourished rather than foisting them onto your manager, so much the better. Third, recognize not all problems are yours. If this person is causing problems for the whole team, tearing down morale, getting people into revenge matches, and bringing down the productivity and success of the team, then that is your manager's responsibility. But you can help your manager by informing him or her without bringing additional pressure to bear. Understand the difficulty your manager may be facing. Be a comforter and encourager and not a backstabber. The goal should not be to get revenge or put a bully in his or her place but rather to improve the work environment, morale, happiness, productivity, cooperation. Fourth, if you are the manager, then it's your responsibility to find the right thing to do and do it quickly. Document specific behaviors and specific instances of those behaviors that you want to see changed. Bring your employee into the office and ask about that behavior and listen actively asking questions to make sure you understand. Ask why they feel those harmful behaviors will help. Listen. Then ask what they think they might be able to do differently to bring about better results. Then let them know that a part of their job is to improve and not harm morale, to encourage and not put down and discourage or bully the other employees. And let them know if the behavior continues, it will limit their career potential and could cost them their job. If the bad behavior continues, it may be best to put them on a performance plan with specific goals to achieve--measurable, qualifiable or quantifiable goals--goals you can determine objectively whether they were met or not. And they must be under the control of the employee. It could mean finding at least one good to say about each employee's work every day of the week. It could mean attending an anger management course and writing up specific goals to accomplish based on what was learned that will help them to interact better with their coworkers. All of this may be too much for some bullies who may quit on the spot. In fact, on the surface it may seem that employees with valuable skills would leave immediately while those with marginal skills would be desperate enough to stay and improve. However, what you may find is that those with the most skills and most commitment to the job will do whatever it takes to improve while those who don't care and feel the world owes them everything will leave most quickly. But, please don't be too quick to put your employees on performance plans. Some managers who are bullies think that belittling, cracking the whip, public scourgings, threats, and hanging a perpetually unreachable carrot in front of their employee's noses will get results. If performance increases briefly and a deadline is met, just know that this kind of behavior always backfires. Try gentle, caring, mentoring and coaching. Make sure you're really good at it so you can get results when you do it. And remember, your goal is not to get your employees to scramble out of fear but to work from the heart, from a love for the team and for the company vision. They should be working as hard when you're looking and monitoring as when you're not. And when you're monitoring, look for opportunities to help mentor and coach rather than for opportunities to hurt someone. All this may sound pretty wimpy and soft for a bully who thinks all leadership comes with an iron fist. But, if you do things right and you have to take tough action, most people including the recipients will know in their hearts that the right action was taken. When you hear people say, "I had the best manager I could have hoped for, and I screwed up, and my manager had every right and obligation to fire me for the bad attitude I had", then you know two things: 1) You were a blessing to that employee who was fired and 2) you were a good manager and leader. You don't ever want to find your employees saying, "Wow, it was horrible working for that cruel, heartless, incompetent, arrogant, unrelenting jerk, and I'm glad to be out from under that company." Remember, one day your employee may be your manager or your CEO! And if you are a really good manager, that will even be more likely! The best job security is your perceived potential for bringing good to your company. I would like to say it is your skill or your contribution to your company. But, sometimes you can contribute greatly in obscurity. But, when you're a manager, a lot of eyes are on you. So, be good to your employees and your boss. Make other bosses want to have you for their employee.

InvisiTech
InvisiTech

Great topic. I found the books that came out of VitalSmarts-dot-com were of particular use in this area of dealing with both difficult people and difficult topics of conversation. The books - Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations should be a must read for any manager.

blarman
blarman

You choose good topics for conversation, but never really deliver much on the value side as to HOW TO DEAL WITH ANYTHING! Yes, we know these are problems. What we want to read about are strategies to deal with them!!!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Pointing out the huge error in your thinking. How you said but did not. Spotting the lie. Working BS detectors.. Foolishly says I told you so Screamed in rage when you cut him off at the knees again, to avoid you carrying the can... You've slipped back to the usual managent cop out stuff, disappointing. Oh I'm sorry, that was rude of me... :p

Julia.Hengstler
Julia.Hengstler

Great points about behavioural issues--and what people are willing to accept in the name of productivity or end product--but can you give some tips for how to manage the situation? Some of this is likely just "enabling" the behaviours on the part of the manager--but how do you determine what is enabling the behaviour to continue, and what is preventing total meltdowns. What are the most common "jerk" or "prima donna" behaviours? What might be tips for managing each type?

ac7437
ac7437

Toni, Excellent article. KittyK4t, so I guess your line of thinking is that an arrogant SOB (no matter how arrogant, and gifted), should be able to disrupt an office (or belittle other employees) ?

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

@rtfm-please you're so right. If the people at the top enforce their authority with intimidation or just plain bad manners, that becomes the company culture. Pres. Obama has his detractors (including me) but he shows terrific grace under pressure. I would follow him into a firefight. If he was my boss and called me in to discuss my jerky behavior, I would feel ashamed and the effect would be lasting.

Michael2238
Michael2238

I see a lot of people defending bosses and employees who's treatment of people is less than acceptable. I agree that if your boss is a Jerk it will affect the overall moral and productivity of the team. As one person said this might be the secret sauce to a successful chicken joint, but in corporate it wouldn't translate over so well. If you are an ass to everybody under you, expect a lot of private complaints and a meeting with HR. Any good company worth its weight in shillings would have a policy in place for such behavior, and a means to rectify it quickly. As for teams, I do not believe workers are just servants, A servant has no rights, and must take whatever a master dishes out without question. No, a member of a team is an employee, and like I said before has the right to do his job without being harassed on a regular basis. Unnecessary rudeness is just that.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I've decided that to get my vote, a person will have to be: a) A woman... women are just better at leading, you know what I mean? They take to it so naturally, that they feel no need for grandstanding and polishing their nobs in public or the company of rich friends. b) Not a loudmouth. If you have to say it loudly, don't bother: even you don't believe anyone will listen... c) Not a smartass... a smart ass is still full of_shit, eh? d) Not a dumbass... a dumb ass is just overflowing with the stuff.

flashtube1
flashtube1

Really nice paragraph! I believe it totally, but there are cases in which this will not work, especially if your manager has a very bad mental problem. I bought the book titled, "Working With You Is Killing Me" and read it cover to cover. I tried everything in the book and nothing worked. You have never met anyone like this! Yes you have experienced the occasional jerk and I wish my manager was a jerk, because that would have been more human than what I had experienced. My manager was being protected by the company owner, because the manager managed not only the IT department (2 person, manager and me), but the company Microsoft Access database and the ADP system. I was scheduled to be trained in the ADP system, but...you guessed it. My 5 years working with this manager has caused me to be hospitalized twice (stress related) and was finally prescribed daily medication to deal with my manager. All this culminated in my lay off in 2010. I must say, I didn't want to be without work, but I was relieved it was over. You might be saying, "well why didn't you seek other work?". No one wants an older IT worker, and if you are not there yet, you will find out in time.

jimmeq
jimmeq

I had the unpleaseant experience of working around a jerk. It was his daily mission to "stir the pot", "throw a wrench", and do what ever it took to make someone's day miserable. The word that he was a "real nice guy" outside of work did me no good. He would tell people he was intentionally a jerk in the office because he felt it was in HIS best interest. So to try and find out what life situation might have caused him to act this way is far beyond what any employee should have to think about. I did not take my job to figure out someones persona to better deal with him. I think it's high-time we turn the tables and make these jerks stop their behavior in the workplace. My jerk retired and the entire IT staff let out a huge sigh of relief and our daily work lives are more pleseant without the jerk. Only about a half dozen left . . . The Chicken-Nazi. . .there are too many places to buy chicken. I won't give my hard earned money to a jerk. . .I'd rather not eat. Now, if his customers take my cue. . . As a society we pander too much to the "special" people by allowing and forgiving bad behavior because they might have "special" talents. Atheletes are sometimes a perfect example of "special" treatment.

mindilator
mindilator

i am a jerk, i admit it. i will always let you know where you stand with me. i do it out of respect for you, because i believe in the golden rule and i crave behavioral feedback instead of talking behind my back at the watercooler or in your IMs to the snickering idiot sitting next to me. i am a jerk because i tell you what to do to yourself when you oh-so-politely request that i should do your job. not talking about favors, i'm talking about taking on responsibility. i'm a jerk because i throw my weight around when the people carrying out the process before mine decide to go home on time, leaving me to stay late the next day to make the deadline. i call that spending my free time like it's your money, and to normal people outside of work (we never work with normal people, do we) i put up a nasty fight for my rights when that's tried. to you, i glower and make sarcastic comments meant to throw your own guilt back in your face, because you obviously seem to think it's ok to treat me like this. i'm a jerk because i put a mirror up to your own bad behavior -- only i expose it for what it is, and not the surface politeness it hides behind. on the other hand, when you do right by me i talk you up to my peers and buy you drinks at company outings. you'll forget all about that, though, the next time i tell you to do your own job. i'm a jerk because i have no tolerance for you being a jerk to me. being nice is NOT(!!!!!!!) the most important thing in business. getting shit done, done right the first time, and done on time, are the most important things. if this isn't happening because you are cheerfully heaving your responsibility onto a more talented coworker, making them stay late, taking your complaints straight to their boss instead of them first, and basically ignoring their humanity, then you deserve whatever bad mojo you get from them. it's nobody's obligation to make you feel good about yourself. eff you if you ever thought it was. because when you produce that kind of workplace bull$#!+ you produce your hated "jerks." fix your attitude and i'll fix mine promptly.

tarose.trevor
tarose.trevor

...not sure I entirely understood the logic, but strangely I agree (figure that one out) i think I know what you mean i find the political correctness & inability to let people be rude when they are PROVOKED to it by the ludicrousness of circumstances in the workplace, is the really offensive thing... sometimes (as i think you are saying), i need to let my inner jerk tell my managers (very well expressed) jerkiness, that he is indeed a jerk, and most of the decisions he/she makes are the act of a truly inspirational moron... perhaps that makes me a jerk for saying it... but i'd rather be a jerk than get a heart problem from bottling it all up & not saying anything & just sitting there smiling politely doing my job

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Do not tolerate the jerks, suggests that no conversation is required.... I mean they are a jerk, what's to talk about? Don't bother with the difficult conversation, just sack them , you'll enjoy it, and seeing the reason why they are a jerk is wholly down to them, no further issues will ever arise, unless some other jerk hoodwinks you into employing them... Yours sincerely Mr J Erk. esq

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

@blarman: Two strategies. One is Tough Love (R), the program for dealing with problem teenagers. You set out Non Negotiable Conditions for Living in My House, for Coming into My Office, for Speaking to Me. The conditions must be reasonable but they must be enforced. If someone is abusive to you, terminate the encounter immediately by walking away. The second set of principles is Verbal Judo. When someone is going off at you like a string of firecrackers, firstly listen and show that you're listening. Then repeat back to them in a non-confrontational way what you heard them say. Then ask for clarification. Allowing the other person a chance to vent usually gets them back in control of themselves. This works well with abusive bosses who also have the power of life and death over you--perhaps they own the company and win every argument by firing you on the spot.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

None of them care for a difficult conversation it would seem, and settle for silent disapproval.

Nightscribe
Nightscribe

EXACTLY! Although the "truth will set you free" in today's workplace more often you encounter those "can't handle the truth!" on all levels - superiors and subordinates!

tarose.trevor
tarose.trevor

@mindilator - couldn't have said it better :-)

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

When I ask the sorts of questions analysts must ask, managers get hostile. If there are 6 options, I need to know _exactly_ what do do for each one. They think I should know better or not get picayune when in reality, they need to learn to -think- period. Tell some boss they aren't using their brain next time if you want to see bad behavior. In fact, things have gotten so bad our lead analyst has quit. I told my boss that I'm going to implement every lame-brained idea the managers want and let them take the fallout. If they are only going to count what we implement and not count all the useless costly carp we didn't allow them to implement,well it's time to let them reap the fallout.

blarman
blarman

That's what I expect out of the author, however.

Rob C
Rob C

You will see my other comments about HR being atrocious, and jerk Managers. I was a lead analyst, and the vast majority of the staff, would do what the Manager said, even if they knew it was dumb. HOWEVER, what the managers would do is - - Take credit for good things, even though a staff member should have got the credit. - Avoid being accountable for their mistakes. If I could only introduce a couple of changes to environments, they would be - - Dismissal for lying - Accountability for Managers Accountability for everyone, would be nice