WARNING: I will be using the "a" word in this post. I am sorry in advance if this offends anyone, it isn't meant to.
In my boardroom meeting this past week, one of the participants, Ivana Taylor, was talking about the fact that she has a "no asshole" rule in her business. As independent business owners, we can, to some degree, determine who we work with and for. Coming from almost 30 years in the corporate world, I have worked with and for some total assholes and it's one of the main reasons I love working in my own business.
But I'd never heard it described as a RULE and then today I learned of a book that came out a few months back by Robert Sutton entitled The No Asshole Rule.
Many years ago, I worked for a guy who was the very definition of the word. He gained visible pleasure from intimating others and would regularly belittle those who worked for him and those he came in contact with that he determined were of lesser value. You know the kind: they send back every meal, they yell at one employee while in the presence of another, they ridicule any idea you dare suggest.
As the only female on a 14 person team if we were all together for a meeting he would require that we all go out together in the evening. However once gathered in the hotel lobby he'd look me up and down and then say "I'm sure you have other plans."
My fav memory is of an interaction he had with a hotel. He had been assigned his room but wanted to be upgraded to the concierge level without paying extra. The woman behind the counter apologized but without paying the additional fee she wasn't able to upgrade his reservations.
"Do you know who I am?" he shouted so that everyone in the lobby could hear.
"No sir, I don't," she replied, "but I am sure that a man of such great importance will have no trouble paying the additional amount."
Well what could he say to that? I wanted to give her a high five.
If you are working with or for such an animal or perhaps fear that you might be one…Robert Sutton's book is worth a read. Don't believe me?
Guy Kawasaki wrote an excellent book review on his blog this past fall.
Learn some great techniques for dealing with the assholes in your life. Be like Ivana and adopt a "no asshole rule" in your business.
Deborah Chaddock Brown
Writer with occasional a**hole tendencies but working on it.