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in: Podcast, Social Skills

July 15, 2020 Last updated: July 20, 2020

Podcast #627: How to Deal With Jerks, Bullies, Tyrants, and Trolls

There are some people in life who are more than unpleasant, more than annoying. They’re real, genuine a**holes.

My guest today has written the preeminent field guides to identifying, dealing with, and avoiding all of life’s jerks, bullies, tyrants, and trolls: The No Asshole Rule and The Asshole Survival Guide. His name is Bob Sutton, he’s a Stanford professor of organization and management, and we begin our conversation together with how Bob defines what makes an a-hole an a-hole, what causes their jerkiness, and the costs of having such disagreeable people as part of an organization. We then get into the circumstances of when being a jerk yourself can actually be advantageous. We then turn to how to deal with the jerks in your own life, including distancing yourself from them, deciding you’re going to be better than them, and imagining you’re a jerk collector encountering a new species of jerk. Bob explains smart ways to fight back against jerks, and gets into the wisdom of documenting their jerkiness, why it’s occasionally helpful to take an aggressive stand, and how even Steve Jobs learned how to be less of an a-hole. We end our conversation with how to build a jerk-free workplace. 

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Show Highlights

  • How do you know if you’re dealing with a jerk or just someone having a hard day?
  • Why you should be slow to characterize someone as an a-hole
  • How do jerks become jerks?
  • The costs of jerks to productivity 
  • The occasional benefits of being a jerk
  • Ins and outs of dealing with jerks 
  • Why you need to document the actions and behaviors of a-holes 
  • What does it look like to fight back against a jerk?
  • How do you deal with superstars who are jerks?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Bob 

Bob’s website

Bob on Twitter

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