Don’t Be A “Knave”

Let me start by saying my last article was far from ASG style. Yes, it had solid points but it didn’t fit our culture. Simply put, it was boring. I think that aligned company culture is the denominator for success in any professional setting. Culture is an important aspect in overall employee happiness and there’s nothing worse than when a company has a leech in their organization. I recently read an article about how Google looks for a specific flaw when employee termination is a necessity. Sometimes Even Google Has to Fire People

You might think why would anyone want to leave Google? Wrong question. Have you ever wondered why we always hear about the joys of working at Google? It’s their culture. They have an employee centric environment that ensures people have the best packages and amenities, which in turn keeps their employee’s happy; the assumption being that happy employees produce better work.

The types of people that can derail company culture are called “knaves.” The article develops that these “knaves” are people who can ruin an otherwise positive environment for the rest of the company. They lie, cheat and steal. They aren’t happy coming to work in the morning and they specifically make a living through taking credit for other people’s work. Knaves are assholes. They have no place in a healthy work environment.

So the question arises, how do you deal with uncooperative individuals like this? I have dealt with people like this in past jobs. It’s kind of inevitable. I have found that a majority of the time, this type of person may be unaware of the issues they’re causing. They might be top performers, which make them feel as if they are on a pedestal. Consider approaching these knaves. This is a sticky situation and should only be initiated if either you’re directly affected by their behaviors, or if you want to become a leader. Leaders take on these situations that may turn aggressive but they realize it needs to be done for the benefit of the company. Maybe the problem comes down to communication or a flaw in a process. Chances are, if someone is willing to take this issue head on, the team will be thankful in the end. These situations are never easy but this “knave” could just be a person who is lost or unaware of their doings. Sometimes, simply addressing the problem is all that is needed. There is a chance that this “knave” might not change at all.

Luckily, these types of people are naturally weeded out of an organization, thanks to their overwhelming negative presence. In my experience the best way to get rid of this type of person is to challenge them with your work ethic. One aspect you have on your side when dealing with assholes in the workplace is that as long as you work well with others, you’re odds of producing perfected work is higher than the jerks. Use this to your advantage. Become a leader, and when a knave attempts to take credit for your work, it’s time you take them to school.

Think of the bully back in your day that thought he was the shit but this was only because he was insecure about himself. They are most likely acting this way in an attempt to disguise a flaw within. Keep your nose to the grindstone and work your ass off.

Soon enough you’ll be respected as a leader and a problem solver. 


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.