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Melissa P

Very powerful research findings. We hear so many experts on a daily basis give advice on how to improve our health through diet, exercise etc. Who would have thought that making your daily trek into work could prove damaging to your health? Further studies with a larger group would be very interesting.


They can help you keep your sanity as well. I suppose toxic coworkers and a bad working atmosphere can really raise your stress levels and cause people to suffer mentally and physically. That would be an interesting reminder in a workplace thought: "Being an asshole kills people."

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The latter culture of recognition is proven to increase employee engagement by double digits in less than a year. Since numerous organizations have proven the bottom-line value of increased engagement, why would management consider for a second keeping the jerks around?


I agree 100% agree with the article!Helpful and Friendly Co-Workers Can Keep You Alive!! but the fact is my boss never allows any one of us to interact.Our Indian Boss are always like this. He only wants us to do some work even if you have finished working. If i very to become a boss in future i will make my workplace lovable. When some thing is lovable, you can get anything out of [email protected]


Bob, has anyone passed this article along. Jerks tend to make more money than nice people.


This is a troubling study for assholes...or more precisely, for perceived assholes. It seems to show, as Wired puts it, that "caustic workers are unhealthy". A bit like smokers were recently shown to be unhealthy to non-smokers.

But is that really what the study shows? If it is right, then there is a correlation between your health and your perception of your co-workers. There must be lots of people who think they are surrounded by assholes, even though they aren't. And just as many people who think the best even of the worst assholes. It's the people who think ill of others that die early, the study seems to show, not necessarily the people who are surrounded by people who ought to be though ill of in some objective way.

This has always been my concern with the no asshole rule. It tells us that a certain kind of person is "harmful", and therefore rightly marginalized. But I still haven't seen a good objective measure of the "caustic co-worker" or "asshole". Even Bob's definition proceeds from how a person makes other people feel: an asshole is a powerful person who consitently makes less powerful people feel bad.

Well, someone who consistently points out that bullshit is bullshit is likely to be deemed an "asshole" on this view. (There is a whole lot of "nice" bullshit out there.) But do we really want an organization that has *no* assholes of this kind.

I don't look forward to the day when medical science has "proven" that "assholes kill". But then again: I think it's a travesty what happened to smokers too.

Derek Irvine, Globoforce

Food for thought for leadership, certainly, who must consider do they want to go the lazy route and keep jerks on board or ignore their bad behavior without taking the steps necessary to reform their actions. Do you want jerks on staff who cause strife and distraction or do you want to create a culture and work environment in which committed employees who just want to get the job done can do so in a helpful, supportive and appreciative culture?

The latter culture of recognition is proven to increase employee engagement by double digits in less than a year. Since numerous organizations have proven the bottom-line value of increased engagement, why would management consider for a second keeping the jerks around?

Of course, bullies are another thing entirely. As I said in a post just yesterday: the only thing you can do with bullies is to exit them from the organization. If your goal is to create a culture of recognition and appreciation in your organization, there is simply no room for those who believe bullying tactics work.

The rest of that post is available here:

Gerry Schmidt

Bob, appreciate you sharing this interesting study.

The irony in what you describe is that the most valid culture research shows the link between treating people well and better financial performance to be very strongly correlated.

One possible cause for the findings in this study is the powerful effect that mirror neurons have on all of us. Basically, we copy the emotional state of those around us, more so when they are in leadership positions. So bad boss, presumably is in a not so useful emotional state, and those around them, catch it. Simplistic maybe, but consistent with our observations.


Wow, I hadn't seen this finding before. Thanks for sharing. To me this is all the more proof that owners' and leaders' ability and willingness to hire for cultural fit - as well as for skills - pays dividends not just for their current and future workforce, but for society at large.

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