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Codes of Behaviour

Codes of Behaviour

You can’t build a civilised workplace by taking action against one jerk at a time; it takes a reliable set of polices and procedures to battle the problem

Narelle Hess, an Australian organisational psychologist with Challenge Consulting, says many organisations are confused about what constitutes bullying.

Narelle Hess, an Australian organisational psychologist with Challenge Consulting, says many organisations are confused about what constitutes bullying.

“At the workplaces that enforce the no-jerks rule most vehemently and effectively, an employee’s performance and treatment of others aren’t seen as separate things. Phrases like “talented jerk”, “brilliant bastard”, or “a bully and a superstar” are oxymorons. Jerks are dealt with immediately: they quickly realise (or are told) that they have blown it, apologise, reflect on their nastiness, ask for forgiveness and work to change their ways. Repeat offenders aren’t ignored or forgiven again and again — they change or depart,” he says

And Sutton lists five intertwined practices that are useful for enforcing the no-jerk rule:

  • Make the rule public by what you say and, especially, do
  • Weave the rule into hiring and firing policies
  • Teach people how to fight
  • Apply the rule to customers and clients too
  • Manage the little moments
  • Being a jerk is contagious

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