The No Asshole Rule delves into the problem of bullying or aggressive co-workers, who in many cases rise to management positions. Sutton provocatively labels them assholes.
The book lays out the effect these employees can have on a business, and gives advice on how to develop an asshole-free environment.
We all have bad days and act like assholes every now and then; we are all temporary assholes occasionally.
Certified assholes, on the other hand, are people whose asshole-behavior is not a temporary outburst on a bad day – rather, it is part of their character. These are people whose bad behavior is continuous and long term.
This hostile behavior can be expressed both physically and mentally. It may be verbal or non-verbal. Assholes leave their victims angry, afraid, and humiliated.
In the workplace, this can be expressed in many ways: Assholes interrupt others while they speak, they violate their personal space, insult and intimidate them, put others down, stare at them aggressively or ignore them altogether.
Assholes often get away with this behavior by treating their own bosses or customers respectfully, whilst treating everyone else poorly. Hiding behavior like this can be very effective if lower-level employees feel the asshole’s good reputation with superiors would lead to their complaints being ignored.
The general rule is:
Assholes is the right term for all those people who regularly bully or put down others.