Sunday, May 11, 2014

The No Asshole Rule


A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF-“The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't” is a book by Stanford professor Robert I. Sutton, based on a popular essay he wrote for the Harvard Business Review. It sold over 115,000 copies and won the Quill Award for best business book in 2007
Bob Sutton's List of The Dirty Dozen Common Everyday Actions That A**holes Use

1. Personal insults
2. Invading one's personal territory
3. Uninvited personal contact
4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
6. Withering email flames
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
9. Rude interruptions
10. Two-faced attacks
11. Dirty looks
12. Treating people as if they are invisible

Behavior of an Asshole by Bob Sutton.
As shall be understood or as Bob Sutton understood it
Risk of misunderstanding- Mrinal's take NOT favoring an Asshole
1. Personal insults
Talk about issues and results, expectations and accountabilities; keep facts away from personalities, do not make personal remarks and pass judgments, chronic incompetencies can be dealt separately than giving feedback or transactional talks
One needs a pair of experienced eyes and right brain thinking before we can anyone as asshole. The bully may not be an asshole when he is dealing with an asshole. A normal guy in utter frustration may sound like a bully and an asshole. Look for the context and little background. Personal insults are a certain no-no, whoever it is. Be careful, when labeling someone an asshole!
2. Invading one's personal territory
This robbing someone's wealth and pride and modesty. This is criminal beyond being an uncivilized workplace behavior
Asking someone for a long pending report when one struggles to find where it is, in this folder or that folder, this computer or that computer, this application or that application or whether it was ever built? Frustrates a manager or a leader and if in that case, that leader asks for login credentials and wants to go and check himself rather than wasting time with a mental vagabond, think who is an asshole?
3. Uninvited personal contact
This is same as above
Sometimes new leaders contact people out of surprise to shake them out of their orgasmic inertia, out of their pontiff positioning and being dukes or dutches. Differentiate between a bully and a self-proclaimed and sedated and bottom heavy slow moving ship. Organisations have many who do not like to be contacted and do not come to meetings where they can get exposed.
4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
This is serious and if it happens for reasons which are personal to the individual who is threatening, it must be dealt with severity
There is subtle difference between strong feedback and intimidation. One can feel intimidated after a strong feedback. Whose problem is this? Does a manager or leader know what shall be all implications and outcomes of a straight talk on a lousy fellow? Should a leader worry about what interpretations will someone have after a straight talk with a leader/manager? Differentiate and look at context in totality. Assumptions are too easy to make. Moreover assumptions many a times are mother of all fuck-ups! Use right brain thinking before being the super judge! We do not live in a utopian world. Had this been the case, we would have laid-off tons of people, may not have played all games to be the market leader, conspire against fair competitors to lose margins and be in business! Remove employee benefits to cut costs. Easy to tell an individual an asshole and get rid of him. Asshole is a culture issue that many a times emanates from the way company's think, behave and operate. Operate internally means, here who? Fire who? Promote who?
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
This is bad and there shall not be devaluation for dealing with any crisis or performance, good or bad
People may take an emotional statement about issues and not necessarily targeted at any individual but those involved may take it personally disparaging.
6. Withering email flames
This is not expected beyond a point, email activism is not a solution, and trial by email did not help anyone ever. Passive medium like this does not work on sensitive issues. Unfortunately emails are considered as evidence as euphemistically said.
Use personal meetings and solve issue with right set of stakeholders engaged. ‘A’ player sometime lose track here.
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
This is against law of humanity and humanism! People can survive and do well without a manager or employer or state or country. They work for you because they need to work and chose to work for you as a manager/employer.
Do not focus on who is telling, focus on what has been told and if something is told by top level, it means more than it meant till that time. Take it with a pinch of salt or cry foul.
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
Same as above. As told praise in public, reprimand in private
Same as above, We need to respect people for they are people. Whether they are asshole or not is a matter of circumstance!
9. Rude interruptions
This is wrong and it happens more with Alpha males as 70% of US CEOs are Alpha males. Need to curb this habit as far as possible. This is same as above 2 pointers.
Same as above, We need to respect people for they are people. Whether they are asshole or not is a matter of circumstance!
10. Two-faced attacks
This is almost a design for killing and burying someone to ignominy. Deplorable.
Not acceptable as there are other ways to manage the most pathetic people.
11. Dirty looks
This is worse than apartheid. Deplorable
How much dirty you talk, you should not look dirty. Not acceptable as there are other ways to manage the most pathetic people.
12. Treating people as if they are invisible
This is like lost all hope and respect for people. Either have them with you or not. Suffocating and insulting every day is no help to anyone.
Sometime you may ignore people as you have chosen to focus on work as they are quite in a mess and people need to know unless work is in order, we are not socializing!



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