bj fogg art of manliness

How to Deal With Jerks, Bullies, Tyrants, and Trolls | Bob Sutton on The Art of Manliness

Check out the Art of Manliness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • People who constantly act like jerks are generally under constant time-pressure, are competitive in a zero-sum sense, sleep-deprived, and hang around other jerks
  • Keep people in your life who love you and won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re acting like a jerk
    • There’s a difference between people who are harsh on you because they want to hurt your feelings and people who are harsh on you because they want you to be your best self
  • Some of the effects of being around jerks:
    • Your physical and mental health is impaired
    • Quality of your other relationships are damaged
    • Increased disposition to commit crimes
    • Decreased productivity
    • Decreased Life satisfaction
  • While acting like and being around jerks has far more negative effects in the long-term, being disrespectful and/or harsh can provide benefits in certain situations
  • Dealing With Jerks:
    • Create as much physical distance as possible
    • If you have to talk to them, like at work, limit your interactions
    • Reframe how you think about your interactions with them in your mind
    • Attempt to honestly ask them to stop any disrespectful behavior without attacking their character

Intro

  • Bob Sutton (@work_matters) is a professor of management science at Stanford and a best-selling author
  • Host: Brett McKay (@brettmckay)

Books Mentioned

What Makes a Jerk a Jerk?

  • “It’s somebody who leaves others feeling demeaned, disrespected, and/or deenergized” – Bob Sutton
    • There are certified jerks who constantly treat people like dirt, but every person, intentionally or unintentionally, can act be a jerk in the wrong circumstances
  • People who constantly act like jerks are generally under constant time-pressure, are competitive in a zero-sum sense, are sleep deprived, and hang around other jerks
  • You shouldn’t immediately label people as jerks just because of an unpleasant encounter. They might be having a bad day.
    • “There’s all sorts of evidence that show we’re really fast to label other people as jerks and really slow to label ourselves” – Bob Sutton
  • Keep people in your life who love you and won’t hesitate to tell you when you’re acting like a jerk
    • There’s a difference between people who are harsh on you because they want to hurt your feelings and people who are harsh on you because they want you to be your best self
  • The Dunning-Kruger effect of low-skilled people overestimating their abilities also applies to social skills like understanding when you’re being unpleasant rather than assuming it’s other peoples’ fault

How Jerks Affect Their Environment

  • Some of the effects of being around jerks:
    • Your physical and mental health is impaired
    • The quality of your other relationships are damaged
    • Increased inclination to commit crimes
    • Decreased productive
    • Decreased life satisfaction
  • Customers and clients who act like jerks tend to be charged more while receiving lower quality results 
  • While acting like and being around jerks has far more negative effects in the long-term, being disrespectful and/or harsh can provide benefits in certain situations
    • “Having strategic temper tantrums may actually work to motivate people when they’re feeling complacent or they’re being incompetent” – Bob Sutton
    • For example, athletic coaches who usually don’t go off but are occasionally harsh and give grief when their team isn’t performing well have statistically better results
  • In one-off competitive settings, demeaning others can provide better results for you
    • Though if you need to collaborate in the future with them you’ll get worse results

Dealing With Jerks

  1. Create as much physical distance as possible
    • Someone 50 feet away may as well be in another country
  2. If you have to talk to them, like at work, then limit your interactions
    • This also goes for online interactions
  3. Reframe how you think about your interactions with them in your mind
    • Teddy Roosevelt imagined his battles with corrupt politicians as an epic struggle between good and evil rather than just politics
    • Or you can simply think of yourself as the better person tolerating ignorance
  4. Attempt to honestly ask them to stop any disrespectful behavior without attacking their character
    • If their behavior stems from ignorance this method usually works
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Notes By TD

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