The 5% @sshole rule

Steven Gruyters
Management Matters
Published in
2 min readJan 13, 2021

I believe that 95% of people come to work to do a good job and do the right thing for the company. I call this the 5% @ssshole rule, since some people just seem to take pleasure from being difficult and making others look bad.

The second part of the rule is even more important; definition of a “good job” or “doing the right thing” may not be the same as yours.

They interpret the world from their perspective;

  • Their interpretation of company Strategy & Priorities.
  • Their view of the role of their department and how they contribute to the company goals
  • Their personal motivation — goals, priorities, ambitions, values, fears, uncertainties, doubts, and biases

We all do this; it is human nature. The challenge is that these different perspectives, and world views are a major source of company politics if left unspoken.

The way to remedy this is to try to understand the other persons perspective, and motivation. Developing this kind of relationship will have the added benefit of building trust and connection. We will explore this more in future posts.

Best of luck steering clear of the @sssholes.

PS. Do I have research finding to back up the “5% A-hole” percentages? No, I don’t. It is not that kind of rule and I would doubt that people want to classify themselves as A-holes. This is a mindset for building trust and resolving conflicts with people

PPS. You may find yourself thinking that another person’s interpretation of events or perspective is wrong, but who are you to say that your perspective is any better?

Originally published at



Steven Gruyters
Management Matters

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