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Employment Law Blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Killing Litigation with Kindness

A new book is getting a lot of buzz among the Human Resources ranks and is even discussed in the April 11, 2005 edition of Time magazine:  The Likeability Factor, by Tim Sanders, a Yahoo! executive.  What is The Likeability Factor and why should management care? ?A person who gives others ?a sense of joy, happiness, relaxation or rejuvenation,? says Sanders, is more likely to be hired, promoted and retained. According to research, he says, likeable bosses, rather than inconsiderate or feared ones, get the best work out of employees. Nastiness, which he says is rampant, translates into less productivity, higher turnover and a culture of unhappiness.? (Time magazine, ?Animals, Behave; A New Book Tells Why Likeability Not Intimidation is the Real Key to Conquering the Workplace?).  ?The basic rules are pretty, well, basic: No screaming, hanging up phones, slamming doors and expressing biting sarcasm. The bottom line for really slow learners: ?Just be quiet and stop being so unfriendly.?” (Id.). 
Something we in HR have espoused for years and certainly something employment attorneys wish for:  the jury loves a likeable boss!  So why all the hoopla? 

?Play nicely!? It?s interesting that such a commonsense warning is necessary to repeat?and repeat?and repeat.  But any seasoned employment attorney or HR executive will confirm:  many employment disputes reach costly litigation simply because the boss was a jerk.  Employees will put up with a lot from a boss (and an organization) that is friendly, caring, and respectful.  Put an employee with a screamer, and you are sure to hear the EEOC knocking at your door.  Bottom line?  Sanders? advice holds true not only for increasing productivity, promotability and reducing turnover.  It will also lower the organization?s legal bills.

Posted by Patrick Della Valle on 04/12 at 04:21 PM