Here’s the situation: Your top sales rep is killing their quarterly numbers. But almost every other rep on that team is threatening to quit.
Now you have to deal with “The Competent Jerk.”
But how? They’re producing results, they’re good with clients, and they’re appropriate in meetings with you, that’s true.
But often, the Competent Jerk is a terrible teammate who hoards resources and breaks the rules.
And if the frequent requests for coaching that type of employee are any indication, it’s a problem that’s quite common in organizations.
So, would you make a deal with the Devil and keep the high performer? Or would you listen to all the folks complaining about the negative, corrosive, team-destroying things they do, and manage them out of your company?
A recent article in Entrepreneur explains exactly why it is never a wise move to put up with the Competent Jerk.
“Competent Jerks” can be described as results-at-any-cost employees. They deliver results, but never think about the cost. They can destroy company culture, put others’ efforts in jeopardy and obliterate organizations. How?
Their impact spreads throughout the entire organization like a virus.
And the longer you keep them around, the more energy it takes employees to deal with them. As well, the long-term stress associated with working with a Competent Jerk can cause other good employees to leave. Finally, it can signal to others that rotten behavior is tolerated at the company, and that can quickly lead to a bad reputation for an entire firm.
What to do? If you feel the person has enough self-awareness to realize their negative impact, and if you believe their values are a good fit with the company, they just haven’t been managed properly so far, consider these steps from the Entrepreneur article.
- Expand Your Metrics: Companies must understand that performance is more than operational results. It includes how an employee achieves those results. And this “how” is often just as important as the results themselves. This requires adjusting how the company thinks about and conceptualizes accountability, expectations and rewards.
- Increase Awareness: If the Competent Jerk isn’t aware of the problems they’re causing, it’s time to provide them with some critical feedback. Using an instrument like a 360-degree feedback assessment, can provide them with quantitative results that are hard to ignore.
- Provide Support: These types of jerks can and do change with the right support. Consider coaching with the individual’s manager or an outside coach. Often times with the right resources, Competent Jerks can turn their behavior around. But they have to want to change.
If you’ve exhausted all options, help the jerk move on. It’s better to make a difficult decision now to benefit your employees and organization in the long run.
Question: Have you had to deal with a Competent Jerk? What did you do to handle them?