Talented People Have an Annoying Side

“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.” Noel Coward, English Playright

Three reasons talent becomes annoying:

#1. They’re too much of something.

People should be like Baby Bear’s porridge in Goldilocks. “Just right.”

I have low tolerance for bubbly people. But I don’t like rain-cloud people either. And don’t forget the never-good-enough types with their unique version of toxic dissatisfaction.

Talented people have an annoying side.

Tip: Remember why you hired them.

#2. The bar creeps higher.

Yesterday’s good performance is today’s average. Escalating expectations transform good team members into annoying disappointments.

  • Consider their current contribution. “If things don’t change, do you want them on the team?”
  • Give titles to people who are already doing the job, not as motivation. Titles should reflect who people are, not who you hope they become.

Who annoys you? Is it because they haven’t grown with your organization?

Organizations grow and the people inside them need to grow or go.

#3. Lack is annoying.

They lack passion, initiative, ownership, or skill. (Yes, it’s possible to be talented and have lack.)

Lack is opportunity.

  • They lack passion. How might you ignite passion?
  • You care more deeply about results than others. How might you invite team members to show up with heart?
  • They don’t own it. How might you inspire ownership in others?  
  • They lack skill. Are they open and eager for training? How will you enhance their skills?

4 things to consider before pouring into talent:

  1. What values do you share? Many disappointments are collisions of values.
  2. What is their level of aspiration? Is it acceptable?
  3. How have they grown in the past? No-growth in the past often predicts no growth in the future. (Give second chances, but when no-growth-people fail to grow, send them to your competitor.)
  4. Have they exhibited curiosity? Integrity, aptitude, and talent are baseline qualities. After that, do they ask questions?

4 more reasons others are so annoying:

  1. You have a magnification problem. You magnify strengths in yourself and faults in others. 
  2. You’re grappling with issues and problems they don’t understand or appreciate.
  3. They aren’t like you. Emotion, for example, governs their behavior but you get work done regardless of how you feel.
  4. They are like you. Carl Jung taught that others irritate us when we see ourselves in them.

Big suggestion:

Govern your attitude and behavior by who you are, not who others fail to be.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning encouraged Robert Browning to love her for no good reason, except love itself. She reasoned if love has a reason, the reason might change and love would end.

In Sonnet’s of the Portuguese #XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only.  …

………………………..  Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry,—
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.

Be who you are. Authentic leaders end up less annoyed with others.

What might leaders do when team members annoy them?

*I relax my 300 word limit on weekends.