Monday, June 04, 2007

Jerks and the public sector

The McKinsey Quarterly carries an interesting article on jerks in the workplace and building a civilized workplace.

In the article Robert Sutton argues for zero tolerance of harassment of workers. A “no jerks” policy as adopted by the software company Successfactors.

The article lists the “dirty dozen” seen with workplace jerks:

1. Personal insults
2. Invading coworkers personal territory
3. Uninvited physical contact
4. Threats and intimidation, verbal and nonverbal
5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery
6. Withering emails
7. Status slaps intended to humiliate victims
8. Public shaming or status degradation rituals
9. Rude interruptions
10. Two-faced attacks
11. Dirty looks
12. Treating people as if they were invisible

The article discusses calculating a Total Cost of Jerks. It quotes one company where one star salesperson—generated additional costs of $160,000.

Jerks are a problem in all sectors of the economy. How much do they affect productivity in public sector organisations like the NHS?

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