What usually ensues in my seminars is a lively discussion about what it means to 'act like a jerk' at work. Most seminar participants agree that it's pretty easy to know when somebody else is acting like a jerk -- we know it when we see it. The real challenge is figuring out when you are the one acting like a jerk.
How do you know? You know you are acting like a jerk at work if you:
- Approach relationships from the vantage point of what you want or need from others, rather than what you have to offer the other person.
- Blame others and make excuses when things go wrong, rather than focus on the role you played in creating the problem and on what you can do to contribute to the solution.
- Take yourself seriously, but don't always take your obligations seriously.
- Tease and make fun of others or call them names.
- Interrupt when others are speaking or don't pay close attention when others are speaking.
- Make negative personal observations about individuals.
- Hold strong opinions about the work product of another individual, but never articulate your thoughts in a constructive manner.
- Focus on the negative aspects of situations without volunteering to help make things better.
- Denying, stealing or begrudging credit for the success of others.
- Lose your temper, raise your voice, even if you are only 'talking to yourself.'
If you find yourself doing any of these things, well, now you know: You might be acting like a jerk at work. If you act like a jerk at work, it's going to hold you back. Mark my words.
If that's you, knock it off.