Yesterday I was eating a late lunch (1:30-2), when I could have sworn an elephant (or two) was running across the top of my house. It was that sensation you feel and hear when your dryer is off kilter and is making quite a ruckus. I wondered if the workmen from the new house down the street decided to come over and walk around on our roof or if some heavy equipment was being hauled down the street on its way to another new construction site. It didn’t last long, but it was sure befuddling.
Then, later in the day, the earthquake was confirmed and I realized what I had experienced–my first earthquake! I grew up in Michigan, which is not known for earthquakes. And, I heard on the radio this morning that there has not been an earthquake in the south since the civil war, so it is not a common thing down here, either. Thankfully, our family in the DC area was fine, although my sister-in-law had to walk home from work in downtown Arlington because the traffic was too congested to drive. I’m sure our relatives on the West coast would think nothing of this, but for those of us who have never experienced an earthquake (and never thought we would), it was quite bizarre.
Much has been written about employees leaving jobs because of bad bosses and not bad companies. In fact, when we talk with companies about how to build trust within their companies, we remind them that employees do leave bad bosses even when they can’t verbalize their feelings about them to the company in an exit interview. That daily interaction between an unsupportive or uncommunicative boss can be exhausting and make us suspicious about their motives and our standing with them.
Yet in today’s WSJ, another study finds that our colleagues might actually be killing us–shouldn’t we consider leaving our jobs because of them?! This study found that “less-kind colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying.” So, those colleagues (and not just bosses) who are mean-spirited, Über-competitive, and who are just plain nasty will lead us to an untimely death than if we have pleasant, kind, and sociable colleagues.
This reminds us of another study we recently read about where mean men earn more than nice men. The study did not find the same degree of benefit for women–mean women do make more than nice women, but “only” about five percent more.
Integrating these various studies and findings, it means that although mean people may be succeeding individually, collectively and over the long haul, they are hurting themselves because they are driving out nice employees. Now that human capital and talent are more mobile than ever, that long-term effect will no longer be long-term. In other words, nice people, especially nice, smart people will say goodbye to their mean bosses and colleagues, and those firms will become less competitive. Thus, the mean people will lose out financially as well.
Let us know what you think.
-karen and aneil