We’ve all worked with exceptionally talented individuals. They’re insightful, articulate, and solve problems with dazzling efficiency. However, this brilliance can sometimes lead to arrogance. They might dismiss ideas they deem inferior, become visibly impatient, or openly insult those they perceive as less intelligent. In short, they become jerks.

While it may be tempting to tolerate this behavior out of respect for their talent, a culture of healthy candor cannot thrive in this environment. The price of keeping brilliant jerks on your team is a breakdown in respectful communication and collaboration. They can undermine morale and falsely justify their actions by claiming they’re “just being candid.”

Even in organizations that champion open feedback, there will always be those who struggle to communicate with both honesty and kindness. When this happens, it’s essential to intervene.

A culture of candor isn’t about saying whatever comes to mind – it requires consideration, empathy, and respect. This may involve training or coaching to help individuals understand how to deliver feedback in a way that’s constructive and supports the team as a whole.

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