The Jerk Quotient for Leaders

staple puller

Jerks expect respect but don’t extend it.

The gap between respect extended and respect expected is the jerk quotient for leaders. Peons earn respect. But, the power chair is enough for jerks.


Jerks throw their weight around. Rudeness, privileges, temper flairs, and special exceptions are normal. “Important” leaders – who are jerks – walk on others because they can.

Jerks think they’re better than others. Arrogant leaders – who possess authority – express power rudely. They resent it when you speak like an equal, for example.

Disagreements bring out the worst in jerks.

How to disagree nicely:

The term “nice” feels weak to me. But, learning to be nice when you disagree elevates you above jerkiness.

Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
Nice doesn’t have to be weak.

  1. Say no kindly. Tone and facial expression matter.
  2. Start fresh often. Create new starting points by refusing to bring up the past. The need to bring up past failures or offenses suggests deeper issues.
  3. Express gratitude repeatedly. Jerks can’t say thanks when they disagree. Try saying, “I’m thankful you care enough to disagree on this issue.” Or, “Thank you for bringing your perspective.”
  4. Avoid saying no as punishment. “You were bad last week so I’m saying no.” Allow ideas to stand on their own whoever they come from.
  5. Say yes without tweaking. Jerks love to say, “Yes…BUT,” and then explain why their yes really is no.

The heart:

Don’t let another’s bad behavior be your excuse to be a jerk. Respect is a matter of your heart not another’s behavior. Using another’s behavior as an excuse to act disrespectfully is a jerks excuse for lack of character.

See suggestions from Facebook followers on how to disagree without being disagreeable.

Bonus: “20 Ways to Gain the Respect You Deserve.”

How can leaders disagree without being disagreeable?

How can leaders extend respect?

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