Book Me For A Speech

My Writing and Ranting

Press Room

Good Books

« My Main Focus for 2012: Still Scaling-Up Excellence | Main | Larry Page, My Wife's Lament, and Reading on Books vs. Screens »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

get revenge - asshole award

If you do know someone who is an asshole, give them the asshole award toilet paper....that will humble the a-hole. Or just buy one for yourself (with the a-holes picture on it) and display it on your desk

Paul Ludwick

Bob, I heard your interview on NPR the other day and was interested in this issue of the office bully. Two years ago, I published "Trust Loops in Leadership: A Primer on Synergy for the Learning Manager." The book really began from an article on Hiring for Synergy that PM Magazine published in 1996. In my early years as a supervisor, I had a talent for hiring high performers. Some high performers perform bacause they are healthy, self actualized people and others are high performers because they have something to prove and they leave dead bodies all around the office. I was not good at distinguishing between the two. What I found out after I hired them was that bullies may be very productive but they keep the rest of the staff off balance; and the net performance of the group is lower than it would be without the high performing bully. This got confirmed for me when a couple of people left my organization and the group got more accomplished without them than with them. In the early 1990s, I started involving the entire work group in the hiring process and would make it a point to bring the office secretaries into the recap meeting following the interviews for new hires. I would ask front office people to describe the behavior of the candidates while they were waiting for their interview. If the candidate had been rude or condescending to them while they were waiting, the candidate was not considered further. There is a virtually infallible predictor of bully behavior. "People who are rude to coworkers and clients are always rude to office assistants." After I bagan involving the staff in the interviews for new hires, the success of my work groups improved drastically and I kept that same process for 15 years with no disappointing new hires.


I tried to access your preview video and just got an error message,you might want to fix your page code

Lauchlan Mackinnon

Hi Bob,

How do organisational assholes relate to organisational 'psychopaths' (e.g. "snakes in suits",
i.e. individuals who display psychopathic traits in their singleminded rise to the top?


Lauchlan Mackinnon

Uri Geva

If anyone prefers the “one asshole rule”, they should consider adding the “no tenured asshole.” Not only that no asshole deserves tenure but also no asshole’s victim deserves perpetual suffering. Having relief in sight is always better, even if it is in a distant future, than no hope at all. This is nothing but a personal impression. As you bring methodical examination albeit entertaining of the subject, I wonder about the effects of circulating the pain throughout the organization vs. having it localized and static.

Ed Batista

Small world! I knew Lars when I was at the GSB. He always struck me as someone who was resolutely focused on results, and I'm not at all surprised to read that "Assholes stifle performance" is a maxim of his coinage. Very fitting. I look forward to reading the book--


jt winebrenner

My curiosity would be to take the research a step further. Find out who are deemed the assholes of certain companies and call them out. Not in a public stoning sort of way. But in an intervention sort of way. Find out if the REALIZE they are assholes.

I have found that, somehow, the assholes I have worked for/with truly don't think they are assholes. There is some kind of short circuit in the frontal lobe that occurs when they walk through the door at work.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Asshole Survival

Scaling Up

Good Boss Bad Boss

No Asshole Rule

Hard Facts

Weird Ideas

Knowing -Doing Gap

The No Asshole Rule:Articles and Stories