How to Manage and Maximize Gifted Jerk-Holes

Fitting in is unsophisticated self-sabotage, but effectively standing out requires finesse.

“None of us is dumb as all of us.” Astronaut Mark Kelly*

Gifted jerk-holes:

Like black holes, jerk-holes suck life out of the universe.

Incompetent jerk-holes are easy; remove them. But gifted jerk-holes might be worth the trouble.

Authenticity as excuse:

Destructive jerk-holes excuse tramping on others with, “I’ve got to be me.”

Authenticity isn’t an excuse for self-important self-service.

10 ways to maximize gifted jerk-holes:

  1. If you want to stand out, rise above conformity.
  2. Notice, honor, and encourage useful uniqueness.
  3. Don’t expect gifted jerk-holes to magically change. They’re full of themselves. They have little room for others.
  4. Find ways to maximize their genius without destroying teams, when possible.
  5. Assign gifted jerk-holes to individual projects.
  6. Limit jerk-holes to their unique area of responsibility. They DON’T know what everyone else should do.
  7. Focus their involvement and contribution on narrow areas.
  8. Explain how they damage teams, but change comes slowly, if at all.
  9. Say, “No,” clearly and forcefully when appropriate.
  10. Practice conversational turn-taking to maximize team effectiveness.  (Juvenile Jerk-holes struggle with turn-taking.)

Don’t flaunt unique qualities; use them in service to others.

Warnings and tips:

Self-important jerk-holes make demands but don’t affirm others.

Reject people who ooze with endless demands. They’re constantly disappointed and dissatisfied but pleased with their inadequate selves.

Avoid incompetent jerk-holes. Try to manage gifted jerk-holes.

Gifted jerk-holes make teams stupid and ineffective. Collective intelligence requires individual uniqueness, but the number one contributor to smart teams is social intelligence.

The person who flaunts their ‘preciousness’ needs acceptance and approval. Emotional juveniles pout to manipulate and bully in response to resistance. (The person who is “right” never feels like a bully.)

Infantile giftedness serves itself and devalues others.

How might gifted jerk-holes damage teams and organizations?

What suggestions do you have for managing gifted jerk-holes?

‘A– Hole Survival Guide: 9 Tips for Dealing with Jerks (Today)

How to Deal with a Jerk Boss – Simon Sinek (YouTube)

Competent Jerks, Loveable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks (HBR)

A Field Guide to Jerks at Work (Washington Post)

(*Reported by James Cornell in comments.)