There are several “Best Places To Work” articles in business publications every year. Fortune magazine featured its “100 best” in the February 4th edition. The list includes all the usual suspects with Google as #1 for the 4th time. Technology, healthcare, consulting, service and similar companies dominate the various lists; coal mining, farming, and manufacturing aren’t much in vogue when it comes to “best places to work.”
Perks like onsite healthcare and recreation (Google has shuffleboard, basketball, horseshoe pits, etc.), high pay including 401K matching, flex time, sabbaticals, and lots of community involvement are tickets to making the lists. Who wouldn’t want to work for such companies?
But here is the hard truth: a company can offer all that and more and still be a lousy place to work if led and managed by “jerks.” Plante Moran, #25 on Fortune’s list, claims they are “relatively jerk-free.” My guess is they’ll stay on the list a long time if they remain jerk-free.
Nothing affects an employee’s workday—for good or bad—as much as the immediate supervisor/manager of the employee. People do not want to work for jerks—especially the best and brightest who can always find a job somewhere else with the same or better perks, but without the jerks.
Is morale low in your organization? Are you having trouble keeping the stars and “up-and-comers”? If either answer is “yes,” the problem may be too many jerks in leadership. Get rid of them. You can try reforming them, but it doesn’t often work. (Hopefully, the jerk isn’t you.)
Start today to transform your organization into a “jerk-free” zone. Maybe you’ll make the Forbes list someday.
If this post was interesting and useful, please pass it on.
© Copyright 2013 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner
Great reminder, Dick. I don’t think I’m a jerk, but when I read this it makes me pause and think carefully about it to be sure. Sometimes perception is reality…so the philosophy you’ve given me at other times that the leader ‘can’t afford to have a bad day’ is so important, and connected to this topic as well. We have to prove we’re not jerks every day. One slip can take weeks/months/years to overcome.
Matt, You are “certifiably” not a jerk or even close. Hope things are going well in TX. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks. Dick