Over the last week the most shared video on social media has been the video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry being a jerk to a clerk after her car was towed. If you haven’t seen the video you can see it here – https://abc13.com/news/espn-reporter-britt-mchenry-suspended-after-temper-tantrum-caught-on-video/665572/
It is disturbing.
The video led to a swift one week suspension from ESPN but the result will probably be a lot bigger and longer lasting than a week suspension for Britt McHenry.
It is going to take a long time for people to see her as anything other than a jerk. It will affect her career, relationships, and reputation.
Which brings me to this week’s blog: Five Reasons Being A Jerk Is A Bad Idea
1. Business Is About Relationships. I speak to leaders and sales people in almost every industry imaginable and across the board this tenant is true. We are all truly in the people business and so relationships drive our success. People will do favors for people they like. They will respond faster to people they enjoy. And they will do business with people they trust more often than not. Why would you jeopardize your success by being a jerk? People don’t like jerks. They don’t want to do business with jerks and it won’t serve you well to be a jerk – because business is about relationships.
2. We live in a referral economy. Beyond the relationships you build, our economy is built for referrals. We are interconnected with social media, technology and proximity and so our attitude and interactions determine what other people say about us. If that doesn’t seem obvious, google Britt McHenry’s name and it will become painfully clear.
3. Our world is transparent today. I was just in an airport gift shop where they had birthday cards. One had a picture of a woman with a beer in her hand and the card read, “It’s your birthday, party it up!” Then on the inside it said, “But remember that everyone has a camera phone.” It’s funny but true. The technology of today has made our world very transparent, for better or for worse. Being a jerk is hard to hide today – so don’t be one.
4. Being a jerk doesn’t really make you feel better. I know in theory it sounds cool to tell someone off or to put someone in their place, but in the end does it give you any real satisfaction? Generally it doesn’t. All it does is create enemies and destroy relationships.
5. It doesn’t give you the outcome you are looking for anyway. I talk to a lot of people who think if they are angry or assertive or rude that people will listen. But the opposite is true. Studies have shown that people respond much more favorably to kindness than to rudeness. If you want to get people to see your point of view, buy into your ideas, follow your plan, or help to solve your problem – being a jerk is not the way to get it done.
In the end – kindness is a better policy. It builds relationships, referrals and the kind of reputation that you want. It gives you peace of mind and confidence and it builds influence with others.
Nobody likes a jerk – don’t be one.
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