The Toxic Team: Brilliant Assholes

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Ever worked with this one person, who is undoubtedly brilliant, but behaves like... asshole?

The term Brilliant Asshole was coined by the Silicon Valley companies to describe a person who is very skilled in all but interpersonal departments.

They will bring value, and merit, but also feel empowered by that to feel invincible in the working environment. More bad news? Usually they are backed by the higher-ups, as long as they seem valuable to the company.

I believe people do not want to be bad, but rather strive to be the best versions of themselves. First line of defense against a Brilliant Asshole is voicing your feeling, and making it clear, that their behavior is disruptive on a private level, team level, and company level.

If that doesn't help, it is important to gun up with other negatively affected colleagues, and raise the concern with the management. As long as the value brought by the Brilliant Asshole out-weights the negative aspects of their personality, management might tolerate their behavior. This changes quickly when more people start being affected.

Whatever you do, remember that being kind and mindful goes a long way—people need other people to grow, and there's always a chance the Brilliant Asshole is unaware or cannot control their personality, and needs some help!

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