The hidden cost of jerks

A while back I was on a roll about Jerks at Work.

I still hear people justifying jerk behavior because “he’s a star” or “she’s a creative type” or ….

Bottom line is that jerks cost your company.

Bob Sutton was interviewed on NPR this morning (audio on this page) about the hidden costs of jerks. One “brilliant” guy was actually costing the company:

  • an executive coach
  • anger management therapy
  • a new secretary every few months

    (and more!)

    I’ve also seen jerks cost the company because of:

  • lost productivity because people are talking about the latest incident rather than working
  • absences due to stress related issues and illness
  • internal turnover–at one company people were required to stay in a job for a year. And that pattern was that on day 366, a high percentage of people posted for a new internal position. For many jobs a year is about the time it take people to become completely productive, so the cost is in hiring + learning curve.
  • difficulty recruiting internal because the person has a reputation
  • time spent on complaints and mediation involving HR or the jerks manager
  • less collaboration because people don’t want to work with the jerk
  • lower results–most of our work requires cooperation from other people, and people don’t want to help a jerk

    There’s an endless nubmer of excuses for bad behavior. The bottom line is that it almost always costs the company money.