Honesty, courtesy, trust, respect, humility, and compassion are some of the features that characterize modern working environments. An ideal employee is required to possess some of the aforementioned values as evident from some of the questions that potential job candidates are asked during employee recruiting processes. Research has revealed another phenomenon that goes contrary to the popular belief that successful employees should possess the aforementioned values.
Sometimes, people who are disrespectful, overconfident, rude, inconsiderate, and dishonest are more successful than their counterparts who posses positive values (Di Salvo par4). This phenomenon begs the question why being a jerk in the workplace could pay off? Psychologists have given several reasons that answer the questions. Jerks are over confident, risk takers, less agreeable, bold, domineering, tough, and highly driven (White par3). These traits are responsible for their success.
Benefits of being a workplace jerk
Jerks are usually bold, risk takers, and are very independent minded (White par3). They do not follow instructions blindly if they are disagreeable to them. In the modern world of innovation and technological advancements, taking risks is an important aspect of organizational success. Jerks embody this trait that enables them to undertake projects and activities that modest employees shun.
This risk-taking attitude contributes towards their success. Jerks do not follow conventional methods of doing things and in doing so, discover other approaches to solving problems and implementing strategies that are more effective (Zaslow par4). This boldness is usually rewarded by additional remuneration or job promotion. Another benefit of their attitude is that it makes them charming and domineering among their colleagues (White par5).
In many cases, their attitudes are a source of irritation that results in disagreements with their colleagues (Zaslow par5). However, their willingness to dive into matters that other employees are afraid of diving into endears them to other employees. According to career coach Alan Kearns, these attitudes make their colleagues interpret their behavior as signs of superior intelligence and therefore accord them more respect (Di Salvo par6).
In addition, employees are more likely to listen to people who exhibit higher intelligence than those who do not. Jerks win by taking control of workplaces with their irritating attitudes and behaviors that are usually considered inappropriate (Shea par4).
They rarely care about what other employees think or say about them as long as they get what they want. They are able to brush off criticism and negative feedback because they consider other employees as inferior in intelligence than them (Rogers par3). Therefore, they consider themselves more powerful and serving of workplace respect and opportunities.
Jerks are highly confident and domineering in their workplaces (Shea par5). Their confidence is evident from their upright posture, deep and loud voices, wild gestures, and domineering attitudes (Rogers par5). They do not practice modesty in staring at other people and often repel criticism from supervisors.
They are usually brilliant and cruel with regard to giving feedback and personal assessments of fellow employees. Jerks usually gain respect from other employees in the workplace because their confidence gives them a sense of greatness and superiority (Shea par6). Research studies have revealed that being a workplace jerk could aid an employee establish their position at their workplace. Insulting others, responding rudely, staring at people directly, and being pushy are undesirable traits in an employee (Zaslow par6).
However, they can play an important role in developing their career. Being a jerk helps in career advancement because other employees cannot subordinate people with nasty attitudes. Jerks are always ready and willing to fight for their rights and opportunities such as training programs and promotions (Shea par6). Employers prefer bold employees more than timid ones.
Overconfidence and domineering attitudes make employees place workplace jerks on a pedestal and give them opportunities to make certain decisions (Rogers par6).
Another trait embodied by jerks is toughness that is evident from their rude, reckless, and courageous acts (Shea par8). In addition, they are highly driven, assertive, and are always ready to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Leaders like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Jack Welch are highly driven individuals who have been considered as jerks because of their attitudes and characters that were critical factors in their success (White par11).
For example, Steve Jobs was considered as a jerk because he was inconsiderate, harsh, and tough with regard to dealing with employees. His character played an important role in the rise of Apple Incorporation into the most valued technology company in the world. In many organizations, jerks are usually considered for promotions because of their competitiveness, toughness, and willingness to pay the price in order to achieve desired outcomes (Di Salvo par9).
Jerks are usually less agreeable and always take their stand without conformity to anyone’s views and opinions. This trait earns them respect and admiration for their colleagues and make them important in making organizational decisions (Zaslow par8). Rudeness is a sign of power that makes jerks feel exempt from certain rules that employees are supposed to follow (Shea par10). The earning of respect from other employees makes them take control in numerous situations that require certain degrees of courage.
Disagreeable people are tough, self-interested, and argumentative because they are highly opinionated (Di Salvo par12). These are examples of traits that many leaders exhibit. Workplace jerks do not acknowledge their conniving behaviors and therefore do not become bothered by other employee’s reactions and criticism. In addition, their main goal is to advance in their careers at any cost.
They will be rude to team members, manipulate fellow employees, and use their skills to win arguments and further selfish interests (Zaslow par9). Their manipulative ways emanate form their ability to sweet-talk other people and make them ignore their devious behaviors. Their attitudes and behaviors intimidate and irritate other employees who chose to back down rather than fight back.
An ideal employee possesses traits such as honesty, trust, humility, politeness, courtesy, and compassion. However, employees with these skills are not always the most successful with regard to career advancement. Sometimes, people who are disrespectful, overconfident, rude, inconsiderate, and dishonest are more successful than their counterparts who posses positive values. People who posses these undesirable traits are known as jerks because they irritate other employees with their devious behaviors and nasty attitudes.
Many jerks achieve a lot in their careers because of their boldness, domineering and risk taking attitudes, charm, high social status, disagreeableness, and confidence. They usually get things done and do not care about the opinions of other employees. They are always ready to pay any price in order to get what they want. These attitudes and traits are the main reasons why many jerks advance in their careers while modest employees remain stuck in their positions for many years.
Di Salvo, David. Why Jerks Get Ahead. 2014. Web.
Rogers, Kate. Why Being the Office Jerk Could Pay Off. 2014. Web.
Shea, Christopher. Why Are We Overconfident? 2014. Web.
White, Patrick. Office Jerks Finish First. Web.
Zaslow, Jeffrey. Why Jerks Get Ahead. 2014. Web.