Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Difficult people

Almost everyone has at some point encountered someone that was hard to work with. Arguments for putting up with it usually go something like this (taken from an actual newsgroup post):

____ is a dick. He knows it, we know it. Pls take any dickish (ie: involving the dick) statements/responses from his intarwebs as such. It's his nature, he's not trying =)

Sure there's a little Hunter Thompson in all of us but unfortunately research suggests that the "its not his fault" position simply doesn't work. Although this person may justify their existence with technical capability or good sales, they exact a cost on productivity by affecting other employees poorly takes away any benefits they bring.

Why exactly have we tolerated jerks in business for so long? [Author] Bob [Sutton] convincingly demonstrates using surveys, psychological studies and anecdotal evidence that workplace jerks are far more trouble than they're worth. They mat be getting results and making the numbers, but they do so at a huge cost to the rest of the organization and to the well-being of the people around them. (source)

Sutton's suggestion is that you shouldn't hire them, don't put up with them, and if you're in a management position, fire them; they are hurting you more than they are helping. No one wants to attend a staff meeting where their ideas are going to be shot down and no one wants to post to a newsgroup with those kinds of responses. They could go to slashdot for that.

But what to do if you're stuck with one?

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