Rules of Engagement for Non-Jerks

What can we do to help prevent jerks at work?

I agree with Robert Sutton and his book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t (Warner Business Books, 2007). If you haven’t read it yet, you should.

Perhaps companies should be clearer about what it takes to keep a workplace free of jerk-like behaviors. Sutton suggests that if new hires were required to take a pledge and re-sign it each year during their performance reviews, there could be fewer incidents of jerk-like behaviors.

A sample pledge for non-jerk behaviors follows:

  1. I will be passionate about my work and keep in mind what I love about what I do, especially when things are stressful or not going well.
  2. I will respect others, even when I disagree with them.
  3. I will listen with an open mind and learn from others, regardless of their position in the company.
  4. I will strive to know when it is wise to take a firm stance and when to be flexible.
  5. I will do what it takes to get the job done, within legal and ethical boundaries.
  6. I will not waste money, and I will question costs. I will not take advantage of my position in the company for status reasons.
  7. When I have a complaint and see something that isn’t working well, I will speak up and suggest actionable recommendations.
  8. I recognize team efforts are needed to win and will give credit to others who help me succeed. I will ask others how I can help them succeed.
  9. I will admit to not knowing everything and be willing to learn from others—even those lower in rank.
  10. I will be dedicated to pursuing customer success. I will constantly ask how we can do things better from the customer’s perspective.
  11. I will be transparent and honest. I will strive to promote a culture of trust. I will not let my negative moods infect others around me.
  12. I will be a good person to work with—as a person in charge, team member and subordinate. I will not act like a jerk.

Good stuff, huh?

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