Long-Term Strategy: Don’t Be A Jerk

from Seth’s Blog

In the moment, when you have power, no matter how momentarily, how will you choose to act?

Jerk comes from the idea of pulling hard on the reins, suddenly and without care. Horses don’t like it and neither, it turns out, do people.

More than just about anything else, what you do when you have the chance is what people say about you and remember about you. The community pays careful attention to the restraint (or lack of it) that you show when the opportunity arises.

Whether you’re a parent or a multinational, in the long run, the wheel is going to turn. It might be a minute, a day or a week, but your power is unlikely to last.

When we assume that everyone is a volunteer and that all power is transient, it’s easier to become the person we’re proud to be.

This is the essence of marketing–acting in the way you’d like to be seen and understood. Especially when you have the power to make choices.

More here.

Posted in Ideas and tagged , .


  1. Many people are familiar with the phrase “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words do me no harm.” While words in the physical sense are essentially sounds made from the vibrations of an individuals’ vocal chords that come and go for as long as that individual speaks, the previously mentioned phrase ignores the lasting impact that words and text have on human emotion and psychology.

    While the specific words an individual says will not normally be remembered, how those words make a person feel is what is normally recalled by that individual on the receiving end. While many people are already aware of this, the article mentions the impact that negativity can have on the individual dishing out these harmful words, which is usually thought of much less.

    Negativity can affect the notoriety of an individual in any environment, but it is especially detrimental to those involved in a business as well. The article mentions that acting the way people want to be seen is essential to marketing, which can be interpreted in the sense of advertising and marketing itself, as well as how people view you in the office. Being a “jerk” can be detrimental to the business, as it discourages teamwork, making the process of completing the job less efficient. In addition, constant workplace harassment can lead to issues with anxiety or PTSD, which also lowers efficiency by due to the detriment of an individual worker’s health. (https://www.verywellmind.com/workplace-bullying-causes-anxiety-issues-460629)

    While harsh words may also come from a place of urgency, where it is imperative that a task be completed as quickly or efficiently as possible, it is important to remember that being overly aggressive about motivating workers may end up doing more harm than good. Although it usually boils down to the individual, it’s best not to be excessively “jerky” as to burn a worker out. Personally, I believe that constructive criticism coupled with positive feedback are excellent motivators to raise notoriety in the workplace, while simultaneously being productive. It creates a better environment, as not only do workers feel better about themselves and more motivated to do the work, it could also increase the chances of the manager or person in charge to be well liked among workers of a lower status.

  2. In business, it is all about how people view you and your reputation. Appear like a generous person, and more people will be willing to support your business, appear like a jerk and you will send people running from you. In business, the best CEOs are the ones who appear like they want to make a difference in the world and people admire that about them, which is why they pour money into the companies. Sure they may act strict when they are in the office, and some may be jerks behind closed doors, but that is the part of business that we as consumers cannot see. However, what some people view as “jerky” may just be constructive criticism, in the world that we live in today, where everybody seems to be offended by everything these days, when a boss is trying to give feedback on the performance of an employee, one delicate person can view them as a jerk, and it is important to deconstruct what is constructive criticism and what is obviously jerky behavior. It is very easy to identify if a boss is jerky or not based on how they go about their jobs and how they interact with people. One of the meanest businesswomen of all time is Leona Helmsley, former owner of the Palace Hotel, and Park Lane Hotel in New York City. Back in the 1980s, Helmsley was known for being the meanest woman to work for, she would fire people for the littlest things and have the worst attitude towards her employees. She was successful however, because of her business mindset, but nobody thought highly of her and nobody who worked for her liked her, leading to nobody showing up to her funeral when she died. Helmsley had a hard time hiring employees because of her reputation for being a jerk, if she was nicer the business would have run much smoother than it did. This is an example of a boss being so jerky that even though she was smart in her field, never had anybodies respect, and she suffered for it. Future CEOs out there, never act like a jerk to your employees, this should be very straightforward, but Leona Halmsley is the example of the ones who do not understand this message. After all it is better to be loved than to be feared.

  3. I have never once met anybody that said they enjoy talking to or being with someone that is a jerk. A jerk is someone that is not enjoyable to be around because it is someone that is mean, rude, or something of that nature. A lot of times you will hear people talk about their bosses, or someone in charge of something as being a jerk because they do not like the way that they act. A good boss is someone that will make their workers feel valued and know how to balance the work so that it feels like everyone is doing their fair share. A bad boss is someone that can be considered a jerk because they do not accomplish those things. I am a boss where I work and one thing that I always try to avoid is being considered a jerk. One way that I so this is by making sure that my employees feel valued and are not just another person working there. Anytime that I see them doing a good job I will always complement them and let them know that I am happy to see them working well. I know that a lot of times employees will not get complemented for their work because it is something that they are supposed to do and a good job is expected, but I believe that is wrong. I personally feel that even though I know my job requirements and what I am supposed to do, it is still a nice feeling being told that I did a good job because then I feel valued for my work. Knowing that I have this feeling, I always try my best to pass it down to the workers below me because then I know that they will feel valued. Not only will employees feel good about themselves but they may also work harder because they respect you and know that you value their work. Having the control and power to make decisions is hard, but finding the right balance between everything is a necessary skill to have. Just because you are in charge does not mean that people have to respect you, so figuring out how to gain that respect is very important because you do not want to be considered a jerk.

  4. I believe in the statement of “treat others the way you want to be treated”. This should be followed by everyone and is known as the golden rule. No one wants to be treated poorly and most people don’t like being mean. Being known as the jerk can be a let down because it can get in the way of being social. This is because if you are known as this, most people will try to avoid you and will not want to interact with you.
    If you are a leader or a person in power, you should follow the golden rule. This will allow you to set an example for your employees or anyone that is looking up to you. Setting an example will also boost your public image and give you a good reputation. In the business world, a good reputation can go a long way and can help you be successful. Overall, being a jerk is not nice, stick to the golden rule and set an example for people.

  5. Anyone that I’ve talked to who said they had a great boss, never described them as a jerk, and I don’t know anyone who would want to work for a jerk. Most people I know, including myself, want to work for someone who respects them and whom they feel comfortable being around. I would not enjoy my job if I was afraid of my boss and dreaded seeing them every day. This sounds miserable, and I would blame my boss for not liking my job and I would most likely resent them for it. Being a jerk or being a tough leader can be effective at times, as it can get through to people in times of crisis or urgency, but in the long-term this is not the way to go about leading others. If you are a jerk as a boss, people will not like you as a boss and this will cause them to not like you as a person either. If this is the case, it will be very hard to work together since personal feelings could get in the way of work. This will cause a dysfunctional work environment and performance could suffer because of that. If you are in a position of power and are leading others, you need to think of how your actions will impact those around you long-term; the best way to act in a position of power is not to be a jerk, but to act in a way that your subordinate will respect and admire.

    The best leaders are not jerks, but they are people who find the right balance between all aspects of being a boss. You need to be effective in your work, as that is the number one priority. This does not mean to disregard people’s feelings and be a jerk and only focus on work, but as a boss you should let your subordinates know that they are there to work and so are you. This will make them understand that you aren’t there to only be friends and not focus on the task at hand. This is a boundary that needs to be established between a boss and their subordinates. That being said, you also need to let your subordinates know that you care about them and respect them as coworkers, this goes a long way in boosting morale as well making employees feel comfortable. If employees are nervous around the boss, it will most likely result in worse performance. If an employee is comfortable and not worried about being yelled at by their boss, they can relax and do better work. If you can get employees to understand the priority in the workplace, as well as establishing a positive and respectful relationship with them, then you have a great recipe for long-term success. Being a leader who is liked and respected will certainly help you in the long-term, as it can help with future relationships down the road, and if you are working under someone who knows of your positive leadership style and how you have treated others, it will likely result in them treating you better because of it.

  6. As someone who is a firm believer of treating people the way you want to be treated, no one should ever strive to be a jerk towards others! Most people tend to always remember a jerk because nobody likes those kinds of people. A famous quote that I once heard that can relate to this article stated that “[People] may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. This quote is powerful and can resonate with many because it holds true. Throughout my twenty one years of living, I’ll never forget those people who have treated me unfairly or have tried to make me feel belittled. The reason I’ll never forget them is because I never want someone else to ever feel like that. The more positive energy we exert in this world the better all of our lives will be. Negativity is the thief that steals happiness and we all seek to be happy in our lives! An article I found called “Are You Teaching People to Treat You Badly?” by Clifford Lazarus, summarizes that we cannot treat unkindness with mere kindness. We must stand up to jerks in order to let them be aware that that kind of behavior is unacceptable in this world. By continuing to allow jerks to be jerks, we indirectly tell them that it is okay to treat others that way. This article mentions that “In behavioral psychology, this is called the “Law of Effect” and states that behavior varies as a function of its consequences (Lazarus).


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