Leading Others Without Being An Asshole

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Bullying Leadership


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How do you interact with other people you work with?

I’ve been reading quite a number of books on business and leadership over the past 18 months: Two books I am currently reading include The Asshole Survival Guide by Robert I. Sutton and To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink which I have already written about and have demonstrated how I do this.

Something to think about …

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.” (@DebiHope, The Asshole Survival Guide)

Look around you …

Behaviour in sociological terms is all about positioning oneself with others in space and time. Daniel Pink would describe these behaviours as a form of ‘selling’ oneself. For example, in fields of power, individuals are not just positioned in social space but in their fields E.g. sport, art, school leadership and politics. The same can be regarded with those with whom you work within education.

The Asshole Assessment:

What asshole do you work with? In The Asshole Survival Guide, there is a list of ‘bullying hallmarks’ which helps an individual recognise when someone is being an asshole. I have designed a list to support those working in schools. How many terrible tricks do you recognise?

  1. Shouting or interrupting
  2. Passive aggressive behaviour E.g. treating people as if they are invisible and ignoring requests.
  3. Choosing the same people i.e. favourites
  4. Asking: “Are you done with this yet?”
  5. Meetings: Holding mandatory meetings just for the sake of it (sometimes during lunch)!
  6. Being taunted for working ‘too hard’
  7. Name calling or constant teasing.
  8. Glaring or wearing a ‘shitty-morning’ face
  9. Treating everything as an emergency, or making a mountain out of a molehill
  10. Loud object-banging; breathes like Darth Vader or uses the ‘F-word’ in every sentence.

How bad is the problem? Firstly look around you before blaming yourself with any mental health issues. If you spot any of the above signals (positioning) in your day-to-day work, then you are most likely to be working with an asshole. It’s either time to ‘call them out’, or time to find a new job!

(Read more on Bourdieu and ‘habitus’ theory for schemes of perception, thought and action.)

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