Jerk is not a protected class

Beverly Kaye of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em fame has a post on Fast Company, Jerks at Work. It’s about bad bosses.

Here’s an interesting stat quoted from “Monster Managers” in American Way:

42% of US workers reported incidents of yelling and verbal abuse in their workplaces.


I had a boss once who yelled, publicly upbraided, threatened and generally bullied people. Her behavior took a toll on productivity, morale, and our health. And guess what — we left.

She’s not the only manager like this I’ve met. I think managers who behave this way fall into two categories:

1) They believe this is acceptable management behavior. They seem to be of the “workers are lazy and you must hold their feet to the fire to make them perform” school of management.

2) They have significant difficulties in the arena of self-management. These bosses seem unable to manage their own emotional responses and actions.

This isn’t a matter of style… it’s a business issue. Abusive behavior stifles creativity, kills morale, and dampens productivity. These are all hard to measure… but it’s easy to measure staff turn over. If people are leaving in droves (or no one internal will willingly transfer to that managers group) it’s a clue.

A little survey of what bad-boss behavior would drive you out the door here. I had a hard time limiting myself to only 5 jerk behaviors that would send me out the door.

Belittling people in front of others, lying, and condescending are in the lead.