Bad Behavior: Are you a jerk?

One of the biggest mistakes that leaders make is behaving like a jerk. Here are five indicators that your team might perceive you as jerk:

1.     You criticize character rather than behavior

You might disagree with an employee’s behavior or decision, but attacking someone’s character will likely earn you the title of jerk. When you say things like “you’re unprofessional” or “you’re unmotivated” or “you’re lazy” the focus is on the person rather than their behavior. As a leader, your feedback will be more effective if you focus on behaviorally based feedback and you will avoid the title “jerk”; at least for now.

2.     You’re condescending towards your employees

An employee asks a question that you think he or she should know the answer to and you say, “If you actually paid attention at work you might know the answer to that question.” Making employees feel stupid for asking you a question will most likely prevent them from asking you again, but it also demoralizes employees and affects engagement.

3.     You block career moves

While tempting to hold onto your top talent, preventing your employees from moving into different positions is a jerky move. Preventing career moves to serve your own needs and eliminate the stress of having to replace a top performer is cause for employees to label you as a jerk.

4.     You humiliate your employees

The tricks that you saw in grade school do not work with adults (not that those tactics were effective with children, but people used them anyways). Pointing out to your entire staff that Betty achieved 50% of her daily goal and asking if she has been on vacation all day is a good example of jerk-like behavior.

5.     You use fear as a motivator

Telling employees they are replaceable or threatening to fire an employee on a daily basis is not only disengaging, it falls under the category of jerky behaviors. If you want to improve performance, you’ll get better results by focusing on strengths and behaviorally based feedback.

Unsure if you behave like a jerk? Click HERE to take the “jerk behavior survey.” Take a look at the behaviors on the survey. If you demonstrate five or more of these behaviors on a regular basis, chances are you’re perceived as a jerk.

3 replies
  1. Eldon Ricord
    Eldon Ricord says:

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