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Dealing with a brilliant sales jerk — Put That Coffee Down

What to do when someone thinks he or she knows it all

Source: FreightWaves

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Sales is competitive, high energy and tough and this environment can bring out the best — and sometimes the worst — in people. On this episode of Put That Coffee Down, FreightWaves Executive Publisher Kevin Hill and co-host Nicole Glenn, CEO of Candor Expedite, talk about how to manage people who don’t want to be taught. 

Glenn and Hill bring on Katrina Burrus, CEO of Excellent Executive Coaching, to learn how to coach around a “jerk” mentality. Burrus is the author of “Managing Brilliant Jerks” and is known for helping fast-track C-suite executives and transforming jerks into leaders. 

She says brilliant jerks “can be super experts and they’re brilliant in their domain, but they don’t know how to deal with people.” Burrus believes sometimes people can be so smart in the technical space that it doesn’t translate into intrapersonal relationships, thus earning them the title of jerk. 

When it comes to identifying and dealing with a workplace jerk, Burrus says it is important to know “the difference between the demanding boss and the toxic boss.” Burrus says the demanding boss will adapt leadership to the desired results, while the toxic boss will turn on and attack subordinate employees. 

The same strategies can be applied by leadership to those high-performing, potentially subordinate employees who present themselves as jerks to colleagues. That successful jerk becomes a problem when he or she is promoted to management and the jerk tendencies bleed over into leadership. 

You can find more Put That Coffee Down episodes and recaps for all our live podcasts here.

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Kaylee Nix

Kaylee Nix is a meteorologist and reporter for FreightWaves. She joined the company in November of 2020 after spending two years as a broadcast meteorologist for a local television channel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Kaylee graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2018 and immediately made the Tennessee Valley her home. Kaylee creates written summaries of FreightWaves live podcasts and cultivates the social media for FreightWaves TV.