In this podcast, Katrina Burrus explains: What are the Brilliant Jerks destructive behaviours? How does it impact people, teams and organisations? What can you do if your boss is a Brilliant Jerk?
Who’s a Brilliant Jerks?
A Brilliant Jerk is motivated to get outstanding results at all costs, and as they are interpersonally blind, their blunt honesty can be hurtful and counterproductive.
Everyone knows a “brilliant jerk,” someone who would be fired if they weren’t so technically qualified, and therefore indispensable. For example, a heart surgeon might be a brilliant heart specialist, but none of the nurses want to work with him or her.
What are Brilliant Jerks’ costs to the individuals and the organization?
- Individual level: People get less creative as they start reacting to the Brilliant Jerk’s mood instead of what’s best for the company. Employees are scared of an abrasive leader’s outbursts. So, they become wary of what problems they can share with these leaders. Brilliant Jerks often accuse the employees of the problem they communicate. Consequently, employees hesitate to communicate issues in a timely manner and can wait until it surfaces a crisis leaving little time for the leader to address the issue.
- Team level: People don’t dare to share new ideas as they are afraid to be criticized. However, these difficult leaders do not realize that their behavior is part of the problem. Consequently few ideas surface.
- Organizational Level: A toxic environment causes higher turnover. Talented employees are the first to leave the organization. Others who feel aggressed leave on sick leave causing absenteeism.