Memo to the CEO: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction?

Memo to the CEO: Are you the source of workplace dysfunction?

McKinsey Quarterly. December
2017, Issue 4, Pages 102-111

There are a lot of jerks in the workplace. I should know. Over the last decade, since I began digging into the effects of incivility, thousands of people have asked me for advice about dealing with bullying bosses, board members, clients, and colleagues. I have, for example, been sent (and saved) some 8,000 emails that detail the range of such disrespect and intimidation, and the resulting distress and destruction. And I’ve tracked pertinent peer-reviewed research, which is growing like crazy. For example, a Google Scholar search on abusive supervision from 2008 to 2016 returns 5,670 scholarly articles and books; rudeness generates 16,300 citations—and bullying a whopping 139,000. My interactions with the targets of such abuse, plus that growing pile of research, prompted me to return to the subject in a new book, The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 2017).