Should Managers Adopt A “No Jerks” Rule?

Should managers overhaul their workplace environment?
Should managers overhaul their workplace environment? Image Credit: Matt Grant

When a manager takes over a team, they’ve got some learning to do. They need to use their manager skills to meet each member of the team, understand the role that they play, and determine what they will be producing. They also have to take a step back and see how the team dynamics are playing out. There is always the possibility that they are going to discover that the team that they are now in charge of contains some people who could be classified as being “jerks”. When this happens, what should a manager do?

Who Do You Want To Have On Your Team?

So just exactly who do you have on your team? If your team is like most teams, you have a mix of different personality types. There are the outgoing types, the shy types, the funny types, etc. However, a big question that you have to ask yourself is if you have any jerks on your team. You know the type of person that I’m talking about: they only care about themselves and they have little regard for the other people who are on their team. The existence of jerks on a team can be detected if there is infighting and fear among employees that they might be punished for mistakes.

When you have jerks on your team, you’ll see that a lot of people’s behaviors are about survival and keeping their heads down. Managers know that they can’t have that kind of atmosphere. Managers have to use our manager training to give team members freedom and security that you’re not going to chop their head off if they do something wrong. Done wrong, a team can become a tumultuous place to work. Managers don’t want their team members to believe that if they push back on something, they can get fired. We need to understand that the consequences of combativeness among workers and between departments is always tangible.

Fixing Problems

How can managers fix problems that have been caused by jerks? To repair morale, you need to work to make yourself personally available while building trust by being straightforward, consistent and, when necessary, blunt. Managers need to understand that they should not treat employees like babies. Tell your team members that you have a problem, ask them to just talk about it. If they’ve got issues about the team then they should just write to you directly. The result of doing this is that you should start to get a regular influx of employee emails. When this happens, you should answer them personally.

Where decisions get made on your team can have a big impact on how people feel. You will want to avoid trying to make things become too centralized. Instead, implement a hybrid system that gives team members substantial decision making authority as well. By doing this you will know what to expect and you can count on collaborations and teamwork. This is a big intangible that many people take for granted.

What All Of This Means For You

The success of a manager is based on what their team is able to accomplish. In order for a team to be successful, the team is going to have to be able to work together and with the rest of the company. Realizing that a team is made up of a collection of different personalities, managers need to take the time to manage those personalities. One big challenge that managers may encounter is if they discover that their team contains a jerk. This can make life tough for everyone.

Managers need to take the time to take a careful look at their team. They need to understand who is on their team. They should be looking for infighting and fear within their team – if they can find this, then they may have a jerk on their team. Jerks only care about themselves. If you have a jerk on your team, the other members of the team will become focused on their own survival. To fix this kind of problem you have to communicate to your team that you are available while building trust with them. Allowing the members of your team to get involved in decision making will make them feel as though they are a part of the team.

We need to take steps to make sure that we can get the most out of our team. If it means detecting that our team may have a jerk on it then that is something that we have to do. If we can find out what is going on, then we can start to take steps to fix things. Only by reassuring your team that you’ve got their back can you hope to maximize what your team can produce.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you have a jerk on your team, do you think that you should get rid of them?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the key manager skills that we need to have is the ability to communicate with our team. There are a number of different ways that we can go about doing this. When we have something that we need to share with a group of teammates, the way that we most often go about doing this is by holding a meeting. These meetings have never been something that anyone has looked forward to, but in the past everyone has gone along with them. The arrival of digital devices has changed the game – people may be attending your meeting, but they are not really there. What should the etiquette for a modern meeting be?