Leadership optimize

How to deal with the brilliant, but problematic employee

Do you have that one brilliant, irreplaceable employee who brings so much to the table but who seems to have been raised in a barn? Here's why you need to do something.

The first doctor: "Well, we could try that treatment and buy you a year or two, but at your age, you've already cheated the average life expectancy."

Doctor #2: "You're 87? You don't look like you're in very good shape. My dad's 87 and he walks four miles a day."

And yet another: "It might be cancer. Now would be a good time to ask - would you want to live on a ventilator if that were your only choice?"

These are some things I've heard some highly trained and brilliant medical professionals utter in the last few weeks as we've been seeking treatment for my father

The excuse I've heard for off-putting behavior like this is that these people are geniuses at what they do and slight imperfections, like the ability to communicate in a humane way, are a small sacrifice. Well, maybe.

Yes, I would prefer my dad's surgeon be more brilliant with the knife than conversation.  But there's something to be said for tact and for being able to convey the information you have that many others don't.

I started with this article with this more extreme example to make a point about how eager we are, even in the workplace, to dismiss the lack of social graces--or in some cases, downright rudeness--as a byproduct of the brilliant mind.

As a manager, I don't expect those who possess some singular talent that drives business in a big way to be Dale Carnegie-esque. In other words, I don't need them to be winning friends all over the godforsaken place. But I don't think it's too much to ask these people to not make their coworkers dive under their desks in order not to have contact with them.

Geniuses like to play the Steve Jobs card to defend their countenances. Well, you know what? Mr. Jobs was indeed a genius, but if he'd reported to me, I'd have lauded his ideas but asked him to watch how he conveyed them.

The effect on the team

When management doesn't chastise the brilliant employee for his or her negative attitudes or interaction with other team members, what do you think it says? It says that that person isn't held to the same principles of civility; that no one else on the team is as important. Productivity can tank as well, if your other employees would rather drink battery acid than have an encounter with the resident genius.

The Harvard Business Review spent a decade studying the effect on antisocial behavior in the office and, based on responses from thousands of managers and employees, found that those with anti-social co-workers exhibit:

  • a decrease in effort (48%)
  • less time spent in the office (47%), and
  • lower quality of work (38%)

Steps to take

It's not always easy to face the cold, confident eyes of the office Einstein in a one-on-one consult. You might think that criticism will be met with anger or, worse, condescension. And you might be right. But sometimes the person is absolutely unaware of how he or she comes across, is shocked by the truth, and wants to change. If not, you can and should impose some kind of checks and balances on him or her. No one is irreplaceable. Weigh the loss of your genius against the stats listed above.

You may also want to consider offering bits of feedback throughout the year rather than in one sit-down.

Another complication--some anti-social behavior comes about because of a need for control, an aggressive nature, and a host of other psychological aspects that are not in my (or your realm) of understanding and/or dealing with. (Unless you're reading this and you're a licensed psychologist. In that case, I apologize, Dr. Phil.) In that case, you can refer employees to HR or an EAP if your company has one.

Either way, don't sweep the issue under the table. It's unfair to your other employees. And just think of what heights your genius can climb to if his or her social skills are honed?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

64 comments
Zepolva
Zepolva

Great read, especially the figures from the Harvard Business Review Study. The effects on a team are obvious and fall in-line with the survey results. I say this because from my experience they are true. When the resident "Einstein" is allowed to treat others, including his own supervisor with a lack of grace, understanding or even respect others eventually pay the price. The behaviour not only pushes others away but also eventually ends with a credibility issue when they are incorrect with an assumption or conclusion. One way that this can be "done away with..." (because the normal reasoning probably doesnt work) is to simply seek out and add other "rock star" talents to the team. If the situation calls for it and can be accomplished - flattening out the playing field will offer leadership the opportunity to "relieve" the team of this person. Sounds harsh, Yeah. The productivity of the team/group, the share goals of the team and the individual goals and work of group suffer otherwise. As more expertise is added to the team, a choice can be offered to your resident socially-inept expert the next time he spouts off: you can contribute value or simply contribute somewhere else. From someone who has had to deal with this type of self-promoting, brash and otherwise abbrasive persona for the last two years the only benefit to trying to fix it has only been slowing down the group.

skf
skf

Too much incoherency at the beginning to even bother finishing the article.

rpprevost
rpprevost

The article is titled "How to deal with..." but the article reads more like "How to do away with..." I don't consider myself a genius, but I always seem to find myself in the position of being the office "Go to" guy when anything tech related goes wrong. But it wasn't always like that.

When I began my career, I had never before laid eyes on a computer. I displayed interest in programming and my managers recognized it and help nurture my curiosity. In 10 years at that job, I went from being a typist (in a typing pool), to desktop publishing, to editorial assistant, to tech manuals writer, to web-based training programmer. As I grew into and out of each of those roles it felt to me like my coworkers were growing with me but in different directions on their own path. When I learned something new, I was eager to share what I learned with my coworkers (I considered them more like family really) and they were equally interested. Each year my performance reviews were stellar. Eventually, I had to leave that job and move to be with my partner. By then, my experience enabled me to take a job as a "eLearning Programmer". My new coworkers found me condescending and unfriendly. I didn't understand why. I was no different than I was the week before in my previous job, but apparently my new coworkers thought I was intolerant of people who didn't understand technology. I, on the other hand, thought they knew very little about technology, they didn't care how anything worked and they had no desire to learn nor hear any explanation about how things worked. In addition, my new manager was not yet an american citizen and had some difficulty with the English language. In fact,she could not formulate a complete sentence, Nevertheless, she  would be the one to write my performance evaluations and critique my communication skills. The first year in that new job ended with the worst performance evaluation I had ever gotten, and they just kept getting worse each year.

Even as my technical skills continued to mature and I learned one programming language after another, and another, and our products got better and better, no one around me made any effort to enhance their tech knowledge, but they had no problem pointing at me and saying that I made them feel stupid. When I asked not to be paired with person x on a project because I always had to fix, or completely re-do, their work, I was paired with them anyway and my work load would double for the duration of that project. When deadline days arrived my team partner would need to leave early to get her kids from school, she'd upload her work to the server and out the door she would go. I would be left to test and debug her work, which ALWAYS failed. Many times, she "accidentally" overwrote or deleted project files and would swear "They were there when I left." I of course would be responsible for cleaning up her mess and recovering the files. This happened for three consecutive years and each year she still never learned a thing. I was reprimanded for "Not making her feel good about herself." It didn't matter that she wasn't doing her job, or that I had double workload and no time to socialize.

That is only a small sample. But it was the culture of everyone there to get their feelings hurt if you smiled at them wrong, or if you didn't  pet them enough. To make matters even worse, our entire team was reorganized under HR. Mix together a bunch of HR Reps with a highly-motivated tech folks and the techies get branded as being rude, anti-social, always talking over their heads or too fast, not teaching them, and the list goes on. They, of course, got glowing reviews. It's time for corporate america to learn that not everyone has the aptitude. for learning/performing the same tasks or being the office social butterfly. Some of us have work to do and it's usually not our own. We're told to celebrate diversity but we get reprimanded for not "fitting in". 

Those Myers Briggs, BEST and other personality pro filers that are intended to raise awareness of how different personalities can help or hinder productivity only looks good on paper because when the session ends and everyone returns to their offices you learn that tolerance is one-sided. The frail office mouse is still going to complain that we hurt their feelings instead of remembering  what they learned about traits. We get told to be nicer but they don't get told to toughen up a bit. Some people work better in noisy places, some don't. The loud talkers are told to quiet down, but the soft spoken are never told to speak up.

SirVirtual
SirVirtual

I've read this article several times and see it as another assault on those who don't "fit in".   Brilliant or not, some people don't like to sit around and talk about each others clothes, or giggle at each others inane comments.  Some of us just want to come in, be the best IT person, or any other profession, we can be.  Moreover, "fitting in" would also mean, as the article leads me to believe, that the "go along to get along" should be the way everyone should be / don't rock the boat / don't have have a unique perspective. Toni, I believe you fit in well here where I work as "we're all just one big HAPPY FAMILY!"   Am I jerk? Maybe, I won't argue that point.  Dive under the desk?  I can't control others actions.  All I know, as happened last week, when the servers and applications and networks aren't there, EVERYONE comes out from "under the desk" for the guy that's asocial.

lskong
lskong

Fair comments on anti-social behaviors, their negative impacts and such but IMHO rather unfair judgement on the doctors, or your vet, or car mechanic under different circumstances. For the doctor to say such seemingly cold-blooded things, and for your failure to put yourself in the shoes of an oncologist who might have to do the same to many families for a whole day, every single working day, demonstrate the same failure in empathy.


l.kobiernicki
l.kobiernicki

Communication is fundamental to the appropriate provision of service to users, and oganizations, in IT.  If a person can't muster and deploy the arts of people-skills, they shouldn't be retained in employ, whether a contractor, or a company salaryman/woman.  There are plenty more fish in the sea !  A high degree of knowledge, skills, expertize, combine best with the humility that sees others as equals, not inferiors.  Many contractors instinctively adopt, and live by, this code.  More employees don't.  People go contracting, to cut out the politics, which result from destructors, attacking their prey.  Permies seem to put up with this, and just go on suffering; but the contractor jumps ship, or transfers to another area, where the predation levels are less ..  When this kind of thing happened to me, I used to rare up, and go for the jugular.  But then, I wasn't your average fearful subordinate willing victim.  Told 'em straight: " I'm not having it  " !  And went ..

mijcar
mijcar

Wow, there are certainly a lot of fundamental and questionable assumptions.

The first and most egregious is the totally unlinked, unproven correlation you make between "genius" and "antisocial."

I have no doubt that the really bright people in your organization contribute to some very uncomfortable responses.  But that is as likely to be the fault of the responder as to those bright people.  Probably even more likely.

You see, bright people see what is wrong.  They see it quickly and clearly.  So when a committee comes up with their usual proposal as, for example, "from today on we will treat the sum of 2 plus 3 as producing 7", the genius is likely to say, "excuse me, but that just doesn't work."

And then the dolt who suggested the proposal (probably a very popular "team player" who often brings donuts to share with everyone) says "come on, Jim, this is how we worked it out.  Just give it a chance."

And Jim says "it's not a matter of giving it a chance.  2 + 3 does not equal 7.  It never equals 7.  You can give it all the chances of equaling 7 that you want, but it doesn't equal 7.  And it never will."

And Mr. Dolt says "Jim, we took a vote; and this is how we want to play it.  You can't always have things your way."

And Jim says "I am not talking about having things my way.  I am talking about how the universe works."

And Mr. Dolt says "Now you're getting abstract.  We want to be practical here.  You need to get your head out of the clouds."

By now, the rest of the committee have run out of donuts, are only starting to pay attention, and they are just grasping the last utterance of Mr. Dolt.  Yep, Jim is doing it again, shooting down their good ideas.

So someone says, "We're running out of time.  I have to get to my daughter's soccer game.  We voted and that's it.  Give it a rest, Jim."

And Jim, who loves the company and wants to see it succeed, says "you can't just leave it like this.  It will be a disaster."

And now everyone is uncomfortable.  Jim has raised his voice, heaven forfend, and clearly he's the "enemy" and these meetings would be so much easier without Jim and ...

There you have it.  Teach Jim to compromise occasionally, to accept just for three months that 2 plus 3 equals 7.  And then things will be so much better for everyone.

Won't they?

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

It is a trade-off. imo, there are at least 10,000 different skills people can have. If you are good at 6000 of them, you're a genius.

If your star employee smells bad or is totally lacking in inter-personal skills, fix it or move him. But if he's merely having issues with other co-workers, decide which people truly are 

1) the problem (if you're a manager) or

2) profitable (if you're the boss).

From where I sit, folks have asked me several times to be politer. Apparently, that is a valid request to make of other human beings. An invalid request is to ask other people to be smarter.

It's always a trade-off. If you want to trade compliments, be my guest. If you want to trade ideas, let's talk realistically about why most good ideas don't actually work out. Please don't be a crybaby when I point out that your idea won't work (meet the expected outcomes for the anticipated cost). Thinking ahead saves money.

I'm actually not morally sure which is ruder, not saying "Please" and "Thank you" or defending your idea to the death even when someone has used, facts, logic, analogy, and past history to demonstrate that it won't work.

I will change my mind several times a day about ideas. I know folks who cannot change any idea once they have spoken it out loud in front of others. They are rude degenerates as far as I'm concerned.


Not~SpamR
Not~SpamR

When someone thinks they have the best ideas ever and won't hear any criticism of them there's a problem. Especially when the ideas truly are very good but won't fit in with other aspects of a bigger system, or would require too much change to implement because the system wasn't well designed in the first place.

Sometimes the newly arrived genius with the attitude of "I can't believe you guys didn't think of this, it's so obvious" can't see as far as "yes it is obvious now, but we're stuck with a legacy system built when it wasn't obvious and the task now is to keep it working while we take the time to plan its replacement properly.

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

Doctor #2: "Your 87?..."

Sorry, you lost me at "your".

 

patrickarchibald
patrickarchibald

You might want to consider the possibility that your 'brilliant, but problematic employee' suffers from something like Asperger's Syndrome. What they may actually need is your help and support, rather than chastisement. Highly developed skills in a chosen field and poor social skills are common traits in Asperger's sufferers. If you plunge in with criticism, you may alienate them permanently and lose a valuable resource.

gjames
gjames

Speaking from personal experience, Toni makes some excellent points.  I was the guy that was considered the technical expert on every system I touched, could analyze failures in minutes, could do repairs in half the time it took others, etc....  I was also the person who could find the fault in another person's idea without even trying.  I spent the better part of my military career with the attitude that knowing more than everyone else was the important thing and if I ruffled feathers then they could either get over it or die with it on their mind.  One of my evaluations even stated "High personal standards of excellence leave little room for the inevitable shortcomings of others, including superiors" (that's called a left-handed salute).  If I had placed any level of importance on the human interaction aspect I would have been much more successful.  It wasn't until several years after retiring from the military that I discovered that I can not only be one of the best in the field but also one of the nicest.  I went from being the guy people asked to help only if it was the last resort to being the one people like to turn to for help and it has made my life easier, richer, and so much more rewarding than I could have imagined years ago.  I had to learn the hard way and did not have a mentor or boss that cared, or perhaps dared, to tell me the areas I needed to grow in.  

For all of those posting about how difficult it is for the "genius" to not finish sentences, or use simpler words, or tolerate those who can't see as far: you will serve yourself and others much better if you learn to apply your "genius" to the art of human interaction as well as your field of expertise.

dentalcrafters
dentalcrafters

My daughter is truly brilliant, she was put in the gifted and talented program when she was 5. She understood concepts that no 5 year old should and it made her classmates and teachers uncomfortable. Had we not been diligent in helping her understand that it's not ok to make people feel bad or uncomfortable because she spoke without qualifying what she was saying, I believe she would have become completely asocial. She had such a hard time talking and playing with other children that she basically wouldn't do it unless pushed, so it falls back to nature vs. nurture. If you nurture a brilliant mind when they are young it has a profound impact on how they treat people when they get older.

When we talk now she still grumbles about being forced to play when she was happier reading a book but she also realizes that without that push to socialize with "those kids that are so dumb and mean mom they just don't get it" she wouldn't have been able to realize they can and will learn from her if she stops making them feel dumb. She admitted that when she was around 10 or so she would purposely talk above other kids heads so they would leave her alone, after I caught her doing it and called her out on it.... She is 28 yrs. old now and she is one of the most beautiful, kind and helpful people I know and I am not just saying that because she is my daughter :)

Child or adult, co-worker or friend, what ever behavior you allow them to nurture will be the one they exhibit the strongest. This is not a new concept.

An old Cherokee legend tells of a Grandfather speaking to his grandson: "My son, there's a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It's anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.

The other is Good. It's joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness and truth." The boy thought about it and asked: "Grandfather, which wolf wins?". The old man quietly replied: "The one you feed."

syoung640
syoung640

"Your 87"? Really? What about "My 87"?

Apparently the doctor couldn't communicate clearly because he didn't know the basic rules of grammar, something one would certainly expect of a blogger on a site read across the world.

AFoshee
AFoshee

A little creativity can also go a long way with employees who cause havoc because of their workplace behavior. 

I'm reminded of one extreme example my father is rather proud to relate.  In his manufacturing plant one lady was responsible for the secure parts cage, and everyone found her foul-mouthed loud intimidating manner to be, well, intimidating.  One day when she came to his office in one of her usual rants he pointed his finger at her and said "You're a valuable employee, but you're rude, crass, and that's affecting your coworkers.  You can be the biggest horses ___ you want on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but you HAVE to be polite and professional on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays."

Since he kept his word that she could be however she wanted on Tuesday and Thursday, and treated her with the respect due her talent and ability every day, it eventually became a joke.  With a little guidance from him she turned it around and frequently cracked jokes on herself like "Sure, let me get that for you - but would you please come back tomorrow so I can yell at you for not filling out the paperwork correctly?"

Creativity must be applied with caution though or you could find yourself in hot water with HR... but done correctly it can be the right approach.

Adrian Watts
Adrian Watts

There appears to be a mixture of anti-social and asocial traits in the article. It is important to bear in mind the difference between anti-social and asocial tendencies. In a gross oversimplification anti-social people actively work at undermining other people, asocial people tend to just want to be left alone. Both can have an affect on a team with the first being much more damaging.

"Negative attitude" is a very dangerous phrase which often is interpreted as not agreeing with everyone else on the team but consider the following.

From the geniuses perspective, how would you like to come to the realisation that every time you have to interact with another member of staff in your team you have to slow down, dumb things down, stop yourself from completing their sentences, and generally pick up the slack by pointing out the obvious (to you) flaws. It can get tiresome and irritating, especially when you know they are being paid roughly the same as you. And to put it bluntly a true genius on a team is more valuable and hence important than the other members of the team, but that doesn't excuse anti-social behaviour.

In short anti-social behaviour is bad and should result in the toxic person being removed. Asocial behaviour is just the way some people are. Everyone is different, it's just that some are more different than others.

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

I've made a career out of working with (you never 'manage') such people. They fall into two categories: those that stick to their competencies and those who think they are genius at everything. The first sort are gold-dust, and well worth cultivating and accomodating. The second category are a nightmare: steer clear, install bargepoles, wear armour and let them go asap.

jsargent
jsargent

An employee is not brilliant if he doesn't get the "big picture". Many people who think they are brilliant are only good at a select number of things. Since they excel at those things they ignore other things that are equally as important. Many times they will claim that other people are incompetent because they are not getting promoted. They don't get promoted because they fail to concentrate on the skills that are required at a higher level eg. they may be bad at delegating, they may be insecure and find it difficult to relinquish ownership, they might not tolerate people who are not as gifted as they are, they might it difficult to communicate, they may be easily affected by criticism, they may fail to recognize up-coming talent, they might not be diplomatic enough and fail to raise support for important projects. From the time you consider yourself as brilliant you are probably not. Socrates said that the only thing for sure he knew was that he knew nothing. One more thing, if you think everyone else is stupid then you yourself probably have a problem. Consider the bad boss who thinks that nobody can do the job right, for all you know he might be brilliant ;)

sn.roy
sn.roy

I can tolerate aloofness and disdain from the resident Einstein in office, but not the same behaviour from those not similarly endowed (which is what happens more often). The problem arises not from the side of the genius initially but due to general deterioration in the standard of employees recruited (keeping cost in mind). In meetings, the majority shoots down the suggestions from the genius, because they cannot see as far as him/ her on the issue.

When the genius has to tolerate stupidity from the rest throughout his career in that office, it is only fair that he gives it back once in a while. Why the others duck under the desk is the fear of being 'found out' because a majority of employees profess skills which they do not have.

jsargent
jsargent

My advice to Tony about your dad's cancer. Don't be fooled and think that those doctors are brilliant. They got their positions by their connections and not necessarily their results. My experience is that the best doctors are more than civil and this bad behavior is deliberate to keep you from questioning their abilities. My grandmother in the UK was 92 when they removed part of her bowel for cancer. I live in another country and the comment I heard from many people was "wow they thought it was worth it operating on her?" (she also needed a refit of her pace maker). She is now 95 and my father tells her off for tidying the garden. A doctor is next to useless if he shows little or no interest in his patient just because he thinks the result won't be less that 100%. I hope your dad gets better.


paul
paul

In general, as soon as you  think an employee is indispensable, or the employee does, you should fire them. Firstly because sooner or later they will hold you to ransom, or you will become afraid of them, or they will leave at a time of their choosing which is catastrophic for you and the business. Bite the bullet at once, before the damage is done. Once they \are gone you usually discover that they were not, actually, indispensable at all. There are very few true genius brains around, and the chance that one of them works for you is very, very small. If you do have a real original, innovative genius, tie them to the company with shares, and keep them under tight operational control: all the facilities they need, minimum contact with others.

I believe doctors are sometimes brutal in their remarks, because all the research shows that if they are not, the patient does not understand. I think something like three quarters of patients emerge from a consultation without being able to describe what the doctor said or what they have to do. A bit of clear, unwelcome honesty and straightforeard facts are more memorable.

jose.montenegro
jose.montenegro

Per some comments, it seems some brilliant employees have read the article :)  Tori raises an interesting point and the response is not unique but depending on your particular situation: yes management can be part of, or the problem and not the solution; yes some groups depend more on brilliant people that they should and yes some brilliant people are real jerks also.  Find your way, I had to handle this situation myself and I did it.  By the way I had the chance to work with brilliant people that were very good communicating and considering others too.  So brilliant people, just improve your communications and interrelationship skills.  It's possible, I met such persons, they exist indeed.

LalaReads
LalaReads

I find that study result summaries are much too simplistic to truly be worth trusting. I would like to know how many sub-scenarios existed and how each fared.

I can also provide an example that undermines Toni's conclusion. A former mentor at a former company was not a people person (think Aspergers) though could really turn it on if meeting outside people. He let go under the guise of not being a "team player" and advancing the main company project. He kept pointing out fundamental flaws in the project. His manager was way over her head and felt threatened. The project went on for about 2 years and created a great vaporware product. When the head office finally figured it out, she conveniently found herself a new job. Our division was sold on false promises and we all lost our jobs.

Rémszarvas
Rémszarvas

@rpprevost: I would add that in some cases the one who is walking in your shoes is the one who doesn't speak loud enoug either...
I'm such one.
I'm told all the time that I lack social skills and/or empathy (even) and I do not care or I'm not enthusiastic enough.
While those those who are so proud of how social and empathic they are do not help me socialise neither do they understand with their hugh empathy how much I cannot do it on my own initiative and they laugh at it.

So I know anyone telling me how important empathy is, means how important it is to them that they can manipulate people even without words.


Being rude is another thing of course, but what rude means may differ extremely.

bmerc
bmerc

@SirVirtual  

You're creating a false dichotomy. 

It's not a choice between being good at your job or being a simpering idiot who talks about pop culture. 

You can be professional and polite without being everyone's buddy.

The notion that you don't have to adapt at all to the corporate culture because you're good at technical aspects of the job is arrogant. Part of your job involves communicating with and getting along with co-workers. 

There's a 90% chance it's even written into your job description.


bmerc
bmerc

@lskong  

Many doctors follow a very straight path to their careers. High school to college to med school to residency. They literally never get to experience the same level of normal social interaction that most of us do. 

The schedules are brutal, and the old boy network demands that residents undergo the same ridiculous sleep-deprived stress-fest that they had to go through.

Add in the fact that medical schools basically ignore the most important aspect of medical practice, communicating with the patient, and it's a prescription for absurdity.

Find a doctor who had some previous real-world experience in another field, and you'll probably have a very different experience. Someone who took a year off to travel before starting med school, or someone who worked in a customer service position, is more likely to "get" the importance of social niceties. 


bmerc
bmerc

@mijcar  

"The first and most egregious is the totally unlinked, unproven correlation you make between "genius" and "antisocial."

It's talking about a specific case of having an employee who is bright and effective at the technical aspects of their job, BUT causes problems with other employees because of their lack of social skills. 

If you're a genius and you also get along great with everyone, then obviously this article isn't about you.

 

Darryl~
Darryl~ moderator

@mijcar 

Some people learn by allowing them to make mistakes ;)

TheFiebre
TheFiebre

@gjames respectfully very valid point. Yes not every time you can just decide to put your "genius" to work on a given "area". More often than not they are G (od/ene) given. What I believe is due diligence is to make the effort to be "tolerant" (in your own genius mind) and respectful. Learn the art of tact and diplomacy.

jaimehha
jaimehha

@gjames Excelent! great for You and blesings on your new, better and improved way of life!

toni.bowers_b
toni.bowers_b

@syoung640 My gosh, thank you so much for pointing out a typo in one of seven articles I had to get online in about two hours. And for perfectly proving the article's point.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

You also have to understand that the doc is totally clueless about statistics. imo, that stupidity means he isn't worth listening to regardless of how good his grammar is. I think that many folks mistake confidence and charisma for intelligence.

SirWizard
SirWizard

My 87 is bigger than your 87 for large values of 87. But only if you're 87.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

I disagree that the toxic person should be removed. imo, you the manager should figure out which removal will provide best for the corporation. If the toxic person can work 5 times faster if you get him away from the other three idiots in the department, well the most profitable move is to remove the three idiots.

There's hardly ever a one-size fits all solution. I do know lots of folks push those types of solutions but they are _never_ accurate.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

I actually had a boss tell me once I didn't understand the big picture. I realized later it was because she _had_ to find some kind of fault with my work.

I really ticked her off by asking whose job it was to provide employees with the big picture.

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

@sn.roy 
This genius would be best served by applying for a position at MIT than to be working with stupid office workers.
I could never quite fathom the assumption that an IT specialist is so much more intelligent than those in other occupations. Perhaps the IT tech has never asked his music teacher a stupid question about Bach. It's all in perception.

Jonathon Dogue
Jonathon Dogue

Not to mention, once they've successfully shot it down, they often reintroduce it later as if they came up with it.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

Your grandmother is 95. That's impossible. The average lifespan is 78 so that's impossible.

Most doctors have no clue about statistics, They are essentially outside their area of competence when talking about diagnostic tests and what is actually meant by them.

bmerc
bmerc

@paul 

This is exactly the sort of BS that comes out of reading too many crappy how-to-succeed-in-business books.

Imprecator
Imprecator

Careful when following your own advice.

Usually, it's not the employee who thinks he/she is indispensable, the ones stupid enough to think like that, sooner rather than later mess up so bad that they either get the boot or get cut down to size.

Usually it's THE ORGANIZATION who thinks that someone is "indispensable", particularly: YOUR BOSS and HIS BOSS. In which case: if you fire the troublesome employee, YOU are the one that will have to explain why the employee is terminated and will have to carry with whatever consequences happen from there on.

The only one who can make a call like that is either the Owner, or the Board, and those don't bother with details like that.

jsargent
jsargent

@paul I disagree that doctors have to be brutal to get the message over. It is a failure in their communication skills and their ethics. You are paying for their time so they can take the time to explain things properly. They rush the explanation because they want to see the next patient. Many doctors fail to explain what your options are. If you have a friend with you in the meeting who is a doctor, they behave in a VERY different way. Both comments that Tony described were unrealistic and had very little to add to the actual diagnosis. What does the ventilator have to do with the diagnosis or that his 87 father walks 4 miles a day? His father is not my father. At 87 many things prevent you from walking 4 miles a day. Let's face it you probably don't walk 4 miles a day and you are probably half his age. Perhaps taken out of context these comments seem harsh but many people have had the same experience. Such comments many times cover up a lack of will to find the correct diagnosis.

TheFiebre
TheFiebre

@bmerc @SirVirtual 

@bmerc you were having a balanced view until you tagged it as "arrogance". @SirVirtual may have a point in his own right but I do not see the connection of not "feeling too social" in his words as to derive arrogance. Perhaps you might be a little too defensive and at fault by creating yet an profile-type association of non-social/arrogant, sounds as stereotype.

Not every job is for everyone, not every person is fit for a job. While it is necessary and an asset to respectfully communicate with users, that is by far the main quality of certain jobs (e.g. IT, mechanic, etc.) where problem solving and high attention to details is at the top of skills. The latter tends to detriment social relationships as becomes a habit if you end up "loving" your job too much, yet does not justify nor implies being anti-social.

Adrian Watts
Adrian Watts

@minstrelmike I did say should not would, it is an imperfect world after all. Unfortunately there is also the possibility of litigation these days. If a member of staff is being anti-social and effectively bullying another staff member and the company fails to address the issue properly once it has been brought to their attention then they leave themselves open to litigation.

A better question would be why an anti-social genius was put in a team with, as you say, three idiots in the first place.

Darryl~
Darryl~ moderator

@Imprecator you say "The only one who can make a call like that is either the Owner, or the Board, and those don't bother with details like that."

If they are the only ones able to make that call, who do you suggest should take the time to "bother" with details like that?

Imprecator
Imprecator

@Darryl~ @Imprecator

HR and the Person's Manager.

However:

- I'll bet you 10 to one, that the one responsible for the "little darling"'s behavior is HIS/HER manager, most probably by having the little darling cleanup the mess caused by the rest of the said manager's employees. So HE is NOT going to move a finger.


- HR. The only thing HR is good at is running the payroll (that is in companies where HR does both things), and maybe doing organizing "Emotional Intelligence" type "seminars" to please whatever C-Level Exec thinks it's a good idea, because he read it in an in-flight magazine, or worse yet, because some Idiot from McKinsey told him . Never seem HR do anything useful beyond that.


Usually the people on top level DON'T want to know about problems (OF ANY KIND). PARTICULARLY from the Infrastructure side of the company. SO: NO THEY DON'T "BOTHER" WITH DETAILS LIKE THAT.
So in short, you have a self-perpetuating cycle, the "troublesome but brilliant" employee is just the symptom of an organization that really is more interested in self-preservation than in getting anything done (including MAKING MONEY).