New Leader Tuesday-How to Be Viewed as a Jerk from Day One

New Leader Tuesday at Management Excellence

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Note from Art: Warning…today’s post is highly sarcastic.

The bookshelves and blog posts are filled with great advice on how to lead effectively, yet, mostly what I hear in workshops and classrooms are the stories of the lousy habits of Grade A Jerks. Since there are clearly many people who aspire to this lofty level in the world of Jerks, I thought I would make your job just a bit easier by offering up this starter list.

14 Ideas to Help Establish Yourself as a Grade A Jerk of a Boss:

1. Show up 10 minutes late to your first team meeting. After all, they work for you. They’ll wait.

2. Introduce yourself to the team and talk mostly about what makes you special enough to be in charge.

3. Offer: “There’s a new sheriff in town and starting today I’m the law.”

4. Indicate that you’ll be meeting with everyone to “assess their situation.”

5. Start giving people nicknames because you think they’ll enjoy that.

6. When someone asks you a question, answer: “That’s important, and we should talk about it at the right time.” (This one works for a few months until they catch on that it’s never the right time.)

7. Cut people off in mid-sentence to make certain you get your point across. People are waiting for your words of wisdom and don’t mind if you interject.

8. Announce an “open door” policy, and then make certain to keep your door closed most of the time.

9. Single out the superstars and shower them with public praise and attention. They love it and everyone enjoys basking in their greatness.

10. Show your extreme displeasure for someone in public. This shows everyone you have a temper and aren’t afraid to use it.

11. Plan to give a motivational speech every week.  Groups love those from their managers.

12. Immediately assume that most of what is going on is wrong…and make people prove the value of their priorities. After all, people like face-time with the boss.

13. When things go wrong, make certain to sacrifice to someone. Your bold action to “solve the problem” will be appreciated by your boss.

14. Success is clearly an outcome of your deft leadership and super-normal management skills. Don’t be shy about guiding the spotlight to shine on you. Your team will enjoy the glow from their great leader.

Master just a few of these habits and you’ll surely succeed in quickly establishing yourself as a Grade A Jerk. If your aspirations run towards the other end of the spectrum, these might be good behaviors to avoid!

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By | 2016-10-22T17:11:29+00:00 June 26th, 2012|Leadership|7 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


  1. Mary Jo Asmus June 26, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Art, your post reminded me of a “new manager” early in my HR worklife. The first staff meeting he held with us, he arrived late, and as he was speaking (not with us, but at us) he stood (we were all seated) and put one of his feet up on the conference table. I felt “conquered”. It was a bad omen that didn’t end well for him – he was eventually demoted. But admittedly, the thought of this guy who had conquered us with one foot on the conference table gives me quite a chuckle.

    • Art Petty June 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Mary Jo, I think I know this character…or at least someone who studied at the same school of Jerks. Sounds like the Karma Train caught up to this one! Thanks for sharing. -Art

  2. Mike O'Brien June 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Art – interesting post thanks for sharing. What didn’t make the list is the “I’ve been everywhere and done everything so I will always be right” message. It is frustrating for new leaders to come in and think they have it all figured out. As is most often the case, every new situation has new variables and opportunity to learn from peers, staff or anyone else in the room. A good leader studies, ask questions, gains trust and then spends the credibility when appropriate.

    • Art Petty June 26, 2012 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Mike, nice add! Now we have 15! Well said on the “good leader.” Great to see you back here! -Art

  3. Janet Schneider June 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Art – I loved this post. It made me chuckle, even though in real life these are the most frustrating situations. I am not sure if I mentioned this one in class, but I had a leader that I had a difference of opinion with and was told point blank that is why his name was on the door and mine wasn’t. It is such a shame that we can all relate to the points listed, but learning from the ‘jerks’ only makes the rest of us better in the long run.

    • Art Petty June 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Janet, love that line. Will need to add it to the list. Thanks for sharing! Art

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