In a great book Bob Sutton has talked about his no asshole rule (No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t) and he has evangelized the idea of a workplace free from bullying.
We are reaching a stage in our society where it is time to say no to the bullies, to say no to bad behaviour, to demand a civil society within our workplaces.
But thinking about the causes of bad workplace behaviour led to a realisation that it is often caused by fear and uncertainty. Now that we are moving into an economic downturn it is likely to continue that fear driven behaviour. Thus poor behaviour in the workplace is even less likely to be addressed. People who fear losing their job in a time of rising unemployment are unlikely to speak out. People who fear that they will lose their job if they fail to meet targets can choose to drive other employees using tactics of fear.
It is time for us to recognise that much of our own bad behaviour in the workplace is driven by fear. And it is time for us to find the resolve and strength of character to be better people than fear would have us be. Like the cartoon says “admitting you’re an asshole is the first step”.
Devils Part 1
Devils Part 2
Devils Part 3