When Kobe Bryant was recently asked what his fifth championship meant to him he replied, “One more than Shaq.”
Which got me thinking, why does it appear that so many successful people are jerks? Or worse. Do good guys really finish last?
When it comes to success and the jerk factor, you quickly discover that there is an embarrassment of riches to plume. And I do mean embarrassment.
John Thune, the former CEO of Merrill Lynch who managed the remarkable trifecta of bludgeoning his company’s market value, laying off thousands of people and doing a one million dollar plus remodel of his own personal office.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein who sold his customers financial products and then bet that these products would fail. He then had the temerity to call his performance, “Doing God’s work.”
Tony Hayward, BP CEO. The jerk of not only the year, but of the decade. Tony, the only person who wants you to have your life back more than you do, is the rest of us. Really.
Enron, Lehman Brothers…okay, this is too easy.
It’s unfortunate that many jerks in the workplace are successful. And often their success can be tracked to their jerkiness. However, that begs the most interesting question here. Can you be successful without being a jerk?
Yes, I believe that you can. For the simple reason that I believe that jerks often instill fear in the people around them. And fear works, for a while. But eventually people realize that there are sane bosses out there, that they don’t have to tolerate boorish behavior at work. That good guys mostly finish first and that’s a much better team to be on.
Jerks succeed in spite of who they are, not because of it. Thankfully, the jerkiness eventually has a way of biting them in the butt.
About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via email@example.com.