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No, It's Not OK To Be A Jerk Or Is It?

Here I thought we are all evolving into better humans and finally recognising the power of relationships and networks, but no, there are still some people who regard themselves with way too much esteem. Perhaps not realising that it is our perception of them that matters most. Last week I was invited to deliver my 'Ripple Effect' Keynote to a group of leaders over lunch. I presented some very new and compelling research about the future of work and also went into how the group can leverage their networks to support their careers. Most of the attendee's were in agreement but one gentleman (who arrived late) decided to proclaim that as long as he did a good job, he would get work and in fact, if his work was exceptional, he could be as big a jerk as he likes. Would you continue to work with someone if they were a jerk? My experiences say no but am I wrong here? Even if someone did an exceptional job would you keep on working together if they behaved like a jerk? It's not just in this case, so many people share with me that people don't greet them at work. Imagine arriving and your boss doesn't say hello or leaving without a goodbye! Some get no recognition for ideas or work and some sadly get bullied for theirs. Being rude is also not acceptable in my opinion. Such behaviour is referred to as 'incivility in the workplace' and it is very well documented that anyone affected is less productive, more stressed and overtime they disengage entirely. You are probably wondering how I responded to the gentleman from the luncheon? Well, I explained to him the difference between human capital and social capital and the relevance of having both to be competitive, influential and successful in the future.

If you are dealing with your own jerk, you should consider reading 'The Asshole Survival Guide' by Bob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) at Stanford. He wrote the book to help you develop an outlook and personal plan to help you preserve the sanity in your work life, and to stop all those perfectly good days from being ruined by some jerk.

Time to reflect on what you can do to help demonstrate your social capital in a positive way this week (and from now on).

A few ideas include;

  • Including people into social activities and taking an interest in getting to know them

  • Maintaining your manners, especially with greeting / thanking others and keeping commitments by showing up on time

  • Keeping your phone on silent during meetings and events

  • Choosing to meet/phone people rather than sending an email

  • Eliminating the word 'busy' from your vocabulary and learning to prioritise people and relationships

Remember, your diary will start filling with invites and opportunities for the festive season, which is another great way to maximise your social capital so I hope you are ready to make the most of it. If you or anyone in your network want to be more strategic with your networking approach, please enrol for our public program or get in touch to discuss in-house capability development. Happy netships for now, Julia

BUZZ QUOTE “In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.” ― Bill Watterson

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