Recognize This! – Tolerating badly behaving high performers
drives down productivity while increasing the level of aggression in the
Do you work with a jerk? Are managers inclined to sweep the jerk’s
poor behavior under the rug saying, “That’s just his personality?”
Tony Wilson reported on research showing why this is incredibly detrimental to your organization, saying:
“More than merely annoying, rude behaviour is a catalyst
for aggression and decreased productivity. When an employee is getting
on everyone’s nerves, too many managers are too quick to say “oh, that’s
just him”…. especially when it’s a star performer.
“ Professor Ido Erev,
a specialist in behaviour explored the effect of rudeness. … The
results were astonishing: the students who were treated rudely scored
significantly worse in the test than those who were treated pleasantly.
“The students also did a classic creativity test – in two minutes,
they had to think of as many uses as possible for brick. Those who were
treated rudely concocted far more aggressive uses for the brick than
those who weren’t, including smashing windows, using it as a weapon, and
weighing down a dead body in a river!!”
This isn’t surprising. I’ve written about it before. Yet the response in the workplace remains the same: “But we need him!”
Do you? Do you really need someone one the team who consistently
makes everyone else perform at a lower level, but with much higher
aggressiveness? I reckon that one jerk’s performance can be easily made
up by the rest of team just by removing the “threat” of rudeness.
Then again, why do people perceive they need to be rude at work?
It could because nice people know they’ll be overlooked for powerful
positions. Research from the Kellogg School of Management, Stanford
Graduate School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business (and reported in MSNBC) showed:
“Nice guys and gals take note: You may be at risk of
being overlooked for positions of power. When it comes to being a leader
in a highly competitive situation or during tough times, altruism can
be perceived as a sign of weakness, while being selfish and aggressive
Sadly, leadership seems to be communicating: “If you want to get ahead here, be a jerk.”
A far more effective approach to finding stellar
leaders who can inspire those around them to give their best is to look
for those who consistently recognize and praise team members for their
efforts. These leaders get the best productivity out of their employees –
but management must turn the tables on the prevailing assumption that
jerks are better leaders.
Do you work for a jerk or a supportive, appreciative manager? How
does that affect your productivity and level aggression at work?
18 Oct 2011 5:02 PM
| Report Abuse
Filed under: employee engagement, performance management, recognition, productivity, leadership, communication, praise, jerks at work, high performers, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, inspire, Kellogg School of Management, msnbc, Stanford Graduate School of Business, tony wilson, workforce managment