Saturday, October 2, 2010

Secret #13: The No Asshole Rule

After one particularly tense Board meeting, I decided to send my colleagues an e-mail( as perhaps a not so subtle message)  recommending a book I had recently read called, "The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't" by Robert Sutton, PhD, professor of management science at Stanford University.

You may be familiar with the Golden Rule- "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  The No Asshole Rule seems to be a response to a modern workplace environment populated with folks who either never learned the Golden Rule or seem to have forgotten it.  Over the years I've seen a considerable amount of bad behaviour at meetings: arriving late, walking out in a huff in the middle of a meeting, threats to involve lawyers, and more.  None of that was respectful, none of it helped us focus on the work we were there to do on behalf of students.  Fortunately, that was pretty much all behind the scenes and not played out in public.

The new Board will have to deal with a lot of contentious issues over the next 3 years and trustees will no doubt have many different points of view on the issues.  Once the votes are taken, the positions become the Board's positions and all trustees then have a duty to respect and go along with the majority decision.

There's less chance that new trustees will burn out after one term if everyone adopts either the Golden Rule or the No Asshole Rule.

If you're a member of the Edmonton Public Library, you can reserve Sutton's book through their website.  It's a bit on the crude side, but I still recommend it.

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