Six Ways to Deal with Four Types of Jerks

You’re tempted to ignore the problems high performing jerks cause. It’s easy to deal with an incompetent jerk.

Cowardice is the issue when leaders tolerate incompetent jerks.

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Leaders who tolerate destructive jerks hobble teams and prolong incompetence.

Four types of jerks:

  1. Head-in-the-sand jerks: don’t see how their behavior impacts others.
  2. Couldn’t-care-less jerks: see how they drive others crazy, but don’t care. This jerk may be one or all three of the following.
    • Driven by a compelling vision. Some jerks believe their vision is justification for walking on people.
    • Arrogant and self-centered.
    • Cold hearted. Others just don’t matter.
  3. Genius jerks: have remarkable qualities that are concentrated in a single pinpoint. There’s little left for good manners, social graces, or communication skills.
  4. High performing jerks: place results over relationships.

Six ways to deal with jerks:

  1. Determine if this situation builds customer value or reflects cowardly leadership?
  2. Look in the mirror. Who do you need to become to deal with jerks?
  3. Invite the elephant to dance. Include the team in decisions concerning talented jerks. Talk over the situation openly. Craft a path forward together. (Everyone already knows.)
  4. Protect and nurture a genius jerks if their unique value is worth the hassle.
    • Do others readily acknowledge their unique value?
    • Can you put them on teams that admire them?
    • Can you send them to the basement to be geniuses on their own?
  5. Help valuable jerks who aspire to improve.
    • Are they excuse-makers?
    • Do they blame others?
    • Have you seen improvement in the past?
  6. Remove incompetent jerks. Ask this question. Knowing what you know today, would you hire this person?

What types of jerks have you seen in organizations?

How might leaders deal with jerks?

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