A-hole bosses are a given. Writing a book about dealing with them is akin to writing a book about dealing with hungover sales coordinators and frustrated art directors. Or a book about the sky being blue. If you need a book to figure out that each type of office creature needs to be dealt with "differently", you are likely clueless enough that a book can't help you. As for office a-holes, a policy of avoidance is about as useful as suggesting abstinence to teenagers. A-holes are a part of life and the corporate landscape, and many times they contribute much more to the company's bottom line than a hundred well-wishing team players. Surviving A-Holes? Please! Where's the book about surviving incompetent, legally protected, entitled dick-riders who jump on someone else's good idea and complain about the fact they aren't celebrated for showing up and doing their jobs?
You sound like an HR nightmare. Maybe you should actually read a book before describing or criticizing it. Who exactly are the whiners? Anyone who reads the book, gets some value out of it, and writes a positive review? Many people have intuitive abilities on how to deal with people, but others don't, and it doesn't make them clueless or mediocre, as you suggest, if they want to improve on those skills. Extremely intelligent people who've never been in political situations do not always know the best response to an A-hole. A-holes aren't necessarily the brightest and the best. Sometimes they are just terribly insecure or overconfident. I've worked with plenty of productive, high performers who didn't find it necessary to bully, belittle, or play political games with others in their team to make valuable contributions to the company's bottom line. They also never had to make excuses or apologies for their counter-productive behavior and they probably slept better than the insecure bullies who can't get through the day without abusing other people or exerting corporate power. I've also seen the damage that can be done by a talent-less, politically adept, power driven maniacs who, through manipulative, negative a-hole behavior, drive talented, valued contributors to leave teams and companies. Smart, hard working contributors should not have to work in a hostile environment. Lastly, I've experienced the hair-pulling frustration of valuable contributors who had to endure the idiocy, intimidation, and a-hole tactics of egomaniacs who place their needs above everyone else and everything. Most good top performers will tell you there is no need for people like this in their company and when the manager or the company let it go, it's even more mind numbing. Using your logic, we can also throw all workplace ethics out the window because, after all, corruption in the workplace has been normalized and people who lie, cheat, and steal are often successful and important to the bottom line and isn't that the most important thing?
Company Man has it right. If kw81 had actually read Bob Sutton's book, he would have known that the myth of the high-producing a-hole actually improving the bottom line is BUSTED! Companies do BETTER financially after a-holes are removed, even the top perfomers.
Amen to M. Robbins and Company Man. Put an A-hole in a power position and just try to measure the lost opportunity cost in competent, organizationally-savvy people who simply will not apply for an internal promotion, for example, because said A-hole is department chief. Those who tolerate that crap in the workplace (much less try to stifle those who address the problem, kw81) represent the visionless, imagination-starved, "my way or the highway" paradygm-paralyzed "management" dinosaurs of a bygone era.
The a-holes aren't just the bosses, they are the people you work with as well. They are people like you who don't give a crap how anyone feels but yourself. And here's some enlightenment for you-you're miserable. Have fun dying young from stress.
Give me a break. You were so very offended by "Your a bunch of whiners" which means to say the least that you most likely are. Take off the pantyhose and get back to work. Not to say that a-holes don't exist that rise to everyone's contempt, but most I've come across are the only ones with actual expectations. The work environment has become so socialized that the expectations of working conditions exceed the need to be competetive in the marketplace. Hence the decline of American manufacturing. Like it or not, it's your a-holes that will ensure you have a job until retirement like the old days, instead of 10 years later when the Chinese, Japanese, Tiawanese or anyone else figure out how to make the same thing at half the cost. So really, stop your whining. Good grief!
"Take off the pantyhose and get back to work." IOW, "complaining" = "being female" = "being weak, whiny, etc." Perfect example of how workplace a**holery and misogyny go hand in hand. I guess that explains why the "most professional" business cultures expect all female employees to come in wearing pantyhose, skirts, and high heels -- gotta make sure the inferior creatures know their place and dress the part, right?
As for "If we don't let people bully one another in the workplace, the Chinese/Japanese/terrorists win!" -- guess what? They're ALREADY winning, and have been since the Republicans made a comeback 30 years ago, but especially in the last eight years. CEOs who lay off thousands of people while they amass wealth are certainly not ensuring that I or anyone else have a job.
I've worked with your type before. You're the subject of the book.
There are definately whiners, complainers, and slakers in offices everywhere. I think, in fact, there are more than in the past (yeah, I'm an "old timer"). But what does that have to do with a**hole behavior by others. Do we permit a**hole behavior as retaliation? Is a**hole behavior, to your way of thinking, the antidote to other unacceptable workplace behaviors? Your "argument" is emotional, not rational. But then, most a**hole behavior is emotional rather than rational.
A leader with an agenda, with a vision, doesn't need to be an a**hole to bring that vision to life (e.g. Sam Walton). Nor does a real leader tolerate other bad behaviors.
Frankly, I think most a**holes are weaklings who behave as they do because they lack real quality attributes, particularly deep innate self-confidence. If they truly believed in their vision, they would be able to rouse others to "follow me".
I have discovered, after many years in management, that real leaders are never a**holes, and real a**holes are never leaders, and never will be.
Cut the macho crap about pantyhose, etc. and present some rational arguments to make your points. Please :-)
Can you be serious about castigating those who refuse to work for a class-A jerk? I cannot believe the lack of knowledge of basic economics that this supposedly "realistic" attitude displays. Allow me to state the obvious: We live in a free market economy. The very best workers have choices. They can, and will, leave for better opportunities. If the jerk is allowed to run his own agenda long enough, the department will have no one left to do the work but those who simply have no other choice but to put up with the jerk. Many of these will be mediocre workers. But remember, too, that many have no choice through no fault of their own. They may be disabled, they may need to keep the health insurance for their children, there may be a temporary downturn in their field, there may be all sorts of considerations that have no bearing on their talent or productivity that (unfortunately) impede them from leaving. But in any event, the real-world bottom line is that the best will leave, and feel great about it. They will also carry with them the story of how poorly run their former company is -- and they will be believed, because they are excellent workers. In short, tolerating the jerk is not the "tough minded" approach the writer of this post thinks it is. It is simply a version of giving in to intimidation, and it ultimately makes no economic sense.
Number 1, it isn't just about bosses, it's about all levels of employees and employers. 2, you clearly didn't read it. Although the author acknowledges their contributions, the collateral damage they cause disables an organization at worst and weakens it at best. 3. You sound like one of the characters he describes. Perhaps you should try reading it. You sound like an employer who views his/her employees as money grubbing "dick-riders"(???) instead of valuable assets to be developed.
While a 'no a-hole' rule might seem like a good idea, it doesn't make a workplace 'civilized', only fair, living wages do that. This book seems written as a manual for how to extract as much labor from employees as possible by eliminating conflicts between workers which costs companies production, not about making work more 'civilized' ... does the book address disproportionate wages between men and women? because that seems like an 'A-hole' move to me ...
Robert A, Schroedl asked: "...does the book address disproportionate wages between men and women? " ========= That's another book topic in itself.
But I know that is not any surprise to you that powerful women had risen to the top in recent years; "slowly" but surely. And I had worked in one company (a part of multinational conglomerate of companies) that had been run-down because of big losses by "A-hole" decisions made by the woman CEO (now former CEO) and had resulted in big lay-offs. And of course, there are those who had made a lot of difference in the lives of many (e.g., Oprah, though some may not agree in this).
I now also work for a private company owned and run by a wonderfully powerful woman; and her good values, instinct and excellent reputation with customers, to my mind, is what makes us employees motivated to continue to work with our best effort to continue to live up to customers' high expectations.
After having said all that, the world-wide elimination of the disproportionate wages between men and women, to my mind, may still be far way off into the future.
Your post is a textbook example of an a-hole in denial: you strive to justify the fact that you are an a-hole by claiming "a-holes are a part of life", as unchangeable as the blue sky above--and then you make the outlandish claim that "a-holes contribute much more than well wishing team players". Maybe you should actually read Sutton's book and try to change instead of taking foolish pride in being an a-hole? Just a suggestion.