My blogging friend Max at Successfactors probably got a lot of exposure when Guy Kawasaki blogged about how SuccessFactors is a no-asshole zone and requires employees to sign a "No Asshole" contract.
Max blogs about why SuccessFactors has it and also posts what other employees feel. He says:
Once, my boss was being a jerk. I told him so - in those words. Instead of getting mad, he accepted the comment and we moved on. Later, he thanked me for telling him. My boss thanked me for calling him a jerk. Let me repeat that. My boss thanked me for calling him a jerk. Calling the behavior what it was helped everyone work better together and get more done. Can you do that at your company?
That, I think is the critical difference. Doesn't matter what you call it...jerk, asshole, negative individual, non-effective executive, these are labels that ought to be stuck to behaviors, and not people.
I think most of the commentors are critical because they feel that Max's firm is labeling people, but it really is not. What it is doing is labeling behaviors. By using a strong word, they are really showing that the behavior is unacceptable. If they started labeling people then even would be critical of them too.
And the guy who started all this is Bob Sutton (blog here), author of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t
Bob was recently interviewed by an friend of mine, so you're sure to read his views soon in India's largest newspaper. Keep an eye out :-)