5 Small Habits that Reform Jerk-Holes

Defeat comes in tiny steps. Jerk-holes usually become jerks slowly.

You show up five minutes late for a meeting, but no one says anything.

You lose your temper and like a toddler having a tantrum, you get what you want. Anger eventually becomes your default strategy for pressuring people into conformity.


You lose respect incrementally.

Second and third chances seem like permission. But kindness and compassion are opportunities to improve, not permission for persistent irresponsibility.

You send a text message in a meeting. Before long, its common. People feel devalued because you exempt yourself from common courtesy.

You come to expect special consideration. Ego blinds you to the tolerance of others. After all, you’re the boss.

Kindness evokes gratitude in the humble and entitlement in the arrogant.

5 small habits that reform jerk-holes:

Small blemishes grow into giant boils. But small improvements eventually blossom.

#1. Act like it’s your first day on the job.

Three or four times a week, dedicate one hour to reconnecting with your inner novice. Show up five minutes early for meetings, not five minutes late, for example.

#2. Become the boss you wish you had. If you work for an incompetent leader, learn behaviors to avoid. Stop interrupting, for example.

#3. Never give yourself permission to do anything you wouldn’t honor if your subordinates did it.

Would you tolerate a subordinate answering an email while you are talking to them? What gives you permission to do the same?

#4. Apologize.

Humility says, “I screwed up.” Arrogance minimizes small indiscretions.

#5. Recommit to learning and development.

  1. Read books.
  2. Get a coach.
  3. Seek feedback.

Tip: Stop thinking of another person while reading this post.

You cannot habitually violate the rules of influence and succeed. You might get results. You might make money. But every time you disrespect others – you diminish yourself.

What small allowances diminish a leader’s influence?

What small improvements expand a leader’s influence?

Bonus material:

Mini Habits (Stephen Guise)

The 20 Bad Habits (Marshall Goldsmith)

12 Weak Habits Every Leader Must Break (Inc)