Re: all the Toxic Coworker/Boss threads: Jerk-proof the workplace


Just saw this on today's online San Francisco Chronicle:

About Robert Sutton's book, "The No -- hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't"

(This guy must be talking about nursing culture! Or, nursing isn't the only profession with this problem.)

"I am disgusted with the norm in business and sports that if you are a really big winner, you can get away with being a creep," Sutton said. "My dream is that leaders of all organizations will eventually treat acting like an -- hole as a sign of bad performance rather than an excuse for good performance."


"Sutton defines a jerk as one who oppresses, humiliates, de-energizes or belittles a subordinate or a colleague, causing that person to feel worse about him or herself. Tactics include personal insults, sarcasm, teasing, shaming or treating people as if they were invisible. He distinguishes between "temporary" jerks, those with the potential to act like jerks but who don't do so all the time, and "certified" jerks, who are routinely nasty. The certified jerks are the ones who pose the greatest threat to an organization's culture. Sutton then explores ways to implement a no-jerk rule and how to survive an environment that doesn't have one. He also warns organizations that being a jerk is contagious. Hire one, and you'll soon have plenty polluting the work environment. " .....

Dirty dozen actions that -- holes use

1. Personal insults

2. Invading one's personal territory

3. Uninvited personal contact

4. Threats and intimidation, both verbal and nonverbal

5. Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems

6. Withering e-mail flames

7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims

8. Public shaming or status-degradation rituals

9. Rude interruptions

10. Two-faced attacks

11. Dirty looks

12. Treating people as if they are invisible

From "The No -- hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't"

On the Web

-- Robert Sutton's blog:

-- The -- hole test:


1 Article; 1,350 Posts

Nursing isn't the only profession with ---holes. There are plenty of them in every profession, and throughout society.

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,302 Posts

Nursing isn't the only profession with ---holes. There are plenty of them in every profession, and throughout society.

Oh so true . . . I didn't become a nurse until I was 40. I worked in many different areas, computers, business, retail, education . . .. jerks are everywhere.

I'll be very interested in reading this article/book . . . .



543 Posts

I posted this in the wrong forum ... I meant to post it to the General Forum, and it looks like it is in the General Nursing Student Forum.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

This author's ideas are not new, just recycled and written in a different style. Eric Byrne, MD addressed much of this in a more professional dialogue aimed at those preparing for a career in clinical counseling titled Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis. In the book he describes the little self-serving games people go about in their day to day activities to get the one-up on others. It also involves parent and child role relationships. It was required reading in my BSN program when we took a class on group behavior. I imagine that Mr. Sutton's book is probably much easier and more entertaining to read, but is based on much of the same theory.

Understanding this kind of behavior psychology has done me well in my career, particularly when I went into management. It would be prudent of most nurses who have now mastered the hands-on skills and day-to-day work their jobs require to devote some time to taking a look at and reading up on some of this stuff along with re-reading about assertiveness and dealing with difficult people in the workplace. Learning how to deal with what Mr. Sutton is calling --holes is something that we can all learn to do. Yet, look at the many threads on allnurses by nurses who are victims of bullying and bad behavior or others. You can either stand there and take it, quit a good job over it, or learn to understand what is really going on and how to deal with it.

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,666 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

Moved to General Nursing discussion.

Wow. I have to say, in all my many years in nursing, I have rarely seen any of the actions listed by other or two, that's it.

BUT, these actions are FREQUENTLY displayed by physicians toward nursing staff every day, and we are supposed to roll over and take it.

Just because someone is a money-making surgeon doesn't give hime the right to chew my a** for no good reason and you have to say "thank you sir, may I have another"!!!

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