Being a Jerk as a Leader Can be Cost-Effective

In this series of “Being a Jerk as a Leader,” let us cover how you can be cost-effective in your approach. For some people, making a process quantifiable and measurable is the way they figure out if it’s an acceptable approach or not. For those people, and also for the rest of us, we’re going to cover the cost benefits of being a jerk as a leader.

It cuts down on wasted time discussing useless and needless topics.


How many times have we been to a meeting that was a complete waste of time? Often we experience a leader that couldn’t “drive” the meeting by keeping the attendees on topic.  How many times do we tolerate ridiculous arguments? Have you ever had a team leader maintaining that it was important to value everyone’s input and contributions?
As much as we should want to show respect for the opinions of everyone, we also need to keep everyone on task. We need to put some guardrails around conversations and meetings, especially those that cut into people’s time. When we as leaders shut down the unproductive conversations, we put people back where they need to be: working on cost-effective, productive tasks.

It cuts down on wasted payroll cost for people who are unproductive.


Being unreasonably nice is costly on the payroll. When we require excellence out of our team members, we are being efficient and effective with our expenses. If we allow unproductive or even lazy people to do substandard work, others wait for completed work. Worse yet, it causes the leader to do the work themselves. For every minute that is wasted on useless conversations, it means that the organization is paying for nothing to be done. That’s unacceptable if it’s the standard procedure.
Expecting people to achieve excellent results isn’t unreasonable – it’s cost-effective. What’s unreasonable is to tolerate poor results from people who can’t or won’t change their behavior or performance. In those situations, being a jerk isn’t just a good thing.  It’s required behavior from a good leader.

Cost-effective productivity increases as expectations increase.


When leaders avoid requirements, the team avoids deadlines. They go about things with a lack of urgency. Conversely, if there are clearly defined goals and objectives that are enforced and managed well, the team gets to work and stays moving until they get done.
When pressed for an honest answer, virtually every skilled and committed team member will tell you that they want to stay busy and productive. The best team members like challenges. There may be times to ease expectations in the pace of a team, but those times are rare. Instead, we want to maintain high expectations to allow everyone to stay focused and working at full capacity.

It increases the pace of the workplace as there is less time to socialize.


When people face requirements to meet deadlines and expectations, they don’t hang out around the water cooler. When you as the leader are making the expectations clear, you’ll see that the socialization times are short and efficient. In addition, you’ll see that the pace and productivity of your meetings will increase as well.
There’s nothing wrong to socialize with your team members.  Designate the time and place to socialize. Outside of the office and “off the clock” is a better option.

Being a jerk as a leader lets you make things as efficient and effective as possible. Allowing lousy productivity in your team is not just unacceptable – it’s expensive.

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