“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” said Annie Dillard. For most people, this means time spent in communication with our coworkers. Those we work with – how they speak to us, whether they support our growth, and if we feel connected to them – can have a greater effect on our overall satisfaction at work than our actual jobs themselves.

For the last 40 years, we’ve encouraged women to choose technology careers. Despite this, today the quit rate for women in technology is 41% compared to a 17% quit rate for men. Research shows that tech company culture often fosters bias, hostility, and the feeling of being devalued. This creates greater stress for women and inhibits their sense of belonging. It is not surprising that our @Work Experience Survey finds that women “thinking of leaving their job” score lower on the key factors in the @Work Experience Framework which defines what women need to thrive in the workplace.

The Valuing and Jerk Project  gathered field data from 26 women and men to identify workplace behaviors that make others feel valued and those that represent being a “jerk.” We found 15 core “valuing” behaviors and 15 core jerk behaviors. Armed with that knowledge we ran a worldwide survey with over 100 participants to learn which behaviors were most important. Learn more from this video.

Our goal is to create interventions to help organizations create awareness and become more valuing! These fabulous Character Posters will help you get started. We have six Honorable characters and six Jerk characters. You can get them individually or as a combined poster. 

Use the posters to guide conversations about how you want to interact as a team! Find the behaviors you need to work on in yourself. Let’s be more valuing!

The Honorables

The Coach
The Reward Master
The Thank You Maven

The Coach gives their time to ensure someone else’s success. They make themselves available for questions, to partner on a hard project, to discuss work challenges and provide straightforward advice without being condescending. This is the most valued Honorable.

The Reward Master highlights a job well done. Whether they give a promotion for excellent work, a bonus, or a trip to a conference, the Reward Master signals value tangibly.

The Thank-You Maven explicitly recognizes someone’s skill and strengths. Using compliments, emails, or notes to senior influencers, the Thank-You Maven consistently shows appreciation.


The Grateful Implementer
The Champion
The Consummate Professional

The Grateful Implementer shows value by using someone’s work or ideas. They acknowledge a contribution to a project or discussion. They build on good work with credit.

The Champion is an ally who takes the time to help others’ careers grow. They advocate for others’ ideas or issues, showcase good work, and provide space for employees to take risks.

The Consummate Professional treats everyone with respect regardless of gender, race, skill level, or job type. As a manager, they clearly communicate expectations and goals. As an employee, they show up and get their work done on time. The Consummate Professional shows value by being considerate

The Jerks

The Megaphone Mocker
The Demeanor
The Decision Dominator

The Megaphone Mocker yells at co-workers in public. They loudly criticize others for perceived shortcomings in meetings. They use foul language. The Megaphone Mocker intends to humiliate and diminish others. This is the most hated Jerk.

The Demeanor tells others that their work, ideas, or job role are substandard or not worth consideration. They listen impatiently, never taking the time to understand. The Demeanor intends to dismiss another person as worthless.

The Decision Dominator just won’t listen to another’s point of view. They insist on their own way, taking over meetings, using all the airtime and making all decisions. The Decision Dominator disdains input from others, known data, or standard practice.

The Time Waster
The Values Violator
The Role Stomper

The Time Waster doesn’t communicate work status or the need for help. They ignore emails or requests, arrive late to meetings, and don’t get their work done. The Time Waster simply does not care about how their behavior impacts others.


The Values Violator won’t play by the rules of society or the organization. They break social and team norms. They think that the corporate rules don’t apply to them. The Values Violator acts contrary to principles that guide professional behavior.

The Role Stomper takes over someone else’s responsibilities. They usurp tasks or decisions that are not in their job role. The Role Stomper excludes the person who owns the job, undercutting feelings of belonging and self-confidence.

Let us help you to create a more valuing and supportive work culture. Just download your favorite characters to print and hang in your workspace. Put them up on your virtual whiteboard. Use them to stimulate group discussions. And send the emojis and stickers to recognize good work. If you focus your team on valuing, if you disdain jerk behavior, you can help all employees thrive!


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