VitalSmarts have recently completed a study which shows employees with poor people skills pay a “jerk tax” when being considered for promotion.
The online poll which analysed 1,650 promotions, debunked the common misconception that jerky behavior is necessary to get ahead in business. According to the study, 92 percent said strong contributors who lack interpersonal skills are less likely to get promoted than those who are polite, candid and respectful.
Co-author of Crucial Conversations, Joseph Grenny suggests that employees interested in climbing the corporate ladder should learn how to generate results without the use of jerky behavior. He offers the following four tips for navigating crucial conversations, in a way that generates results and improves relationships at the same time.
1. Change your emotions. In stressful moments, separate people from the problem. Try to see others as reasonable, rational and decent human beings—even if your opinions clash. Jerks don’t bother with this principle; they make harsh judgments of others and act out those judgments through mistreatment.
2. Help others feel safe. Jerks disguise their harshness as brutal honesty. In contrast, effective leaders find a way to be both 100 percent honest and 100 percent respectful. They do both by starting high-stakes conversation by assuring the other person of their positive intentions and their respect. When others feel respected and trust your motives, they let their guard down and begin to listen, even if the topic is unpleasant.
3. Just the facts. Respected leaders describe problems in factual terms, stripping out the negative labels and punitive conclusions commonly used by jerks. Without the facts, judgmental statements are far from motivating and create animosity and resistance.
4. Invite dialogue. Effective leaders create dialogue while jerks settle for monologue. After confidently sharing your views, invite others to do so as well. If you are open to hearing others’ points of view, they’ll be more open to yours.