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There is No Halo of Exceptionality

You are as unexceptional as you are exceptional. Everyone sucks at something.

There is no halo of exceptionality. Skill or talent in one area doesn’t bleed into others.

You may be good at several things, but you’re only exceptional at one.

People who are great at gathering and parsing data are slow at making decisions.

  1. Great decision-makers are pushy.
  2. Compassionate people don’t push.
  3. Dreams don’t like details.
  4. Visionaries think process-thinkers are foot-draggers.
  5. People-developers sacrifice results because people are growing.


Don’t expect people to bow down and ignore your weaknesses, just because you’re exceptional in one area. You’re ability to solve problems doesn’t give you permission to be a jerk.


Exceptional teammates navigate each other’s weaknesses or they blow up.

You have an exceptional designer on the team who thinks they’re god’s gift to your organization. If you tame them, you lose their talent. But, they’re always ticking off teammates.

Personal conflict requires resolution. It’s almost never useful. But, conflict regarding goals, processes, results, and assignments, may be useful disruption.

The key to navigating useful conflict is the ability to leverage it’s advantage and let it go when it’s time to move forward.

Teammates who hold grudges do more damage than good.

  1. Agree that being exceptional in one area means you’re below average in another.
  2. Be open with the importance of maximizing strengths.
  3. Commit to compensate for each other’s weaknesses. What’s easy for you is difficult for others. If it was easy for them, you wouldn’t matter.
  4. Teach teams how to put up with each other. They’re never going to like each others weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.
  5. Hold open conversations about what people are good at and not so good at.

The truly exceptional are also truly unexceptional.

Don’t domesticate exceptionality out of teammates.

How might leaders navigate the weaknesses of exceptional team members?

How might teams deal with each other’s weaknesses?

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