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The Jerk Hall of Fame - He's Got "Specialized Skills"

Stop me when you've heard this before - "We can't make it without him - his skills are too valuable"!!!.....

Companies can come up with multiple rationalizations for keeping Jerks in the workplace.  Some are realKnightchair reasons, others are flimsy excuses not to confront.  Among the real reasons companies rationalize keeping jerks around? The jerk with "Specialized Skills".  Who is this individual?  Read on:

"This is by far the most recurring theme to rationalize keeping jerks in your company. This theory suggests the knowledge, skills and abilities held by the jerk can’t be replaced in the marketplace. You’ll rarely hear this rationalization about accounting, HR or marketing professionals (since these skills transfer more seamlessly across industries), but you’ll hear it constantly when it comes to technical competencies in areas like engineering, product development and programming. Additionally, the more specialized and niche-oriented your line of business, the more you’ll hear this reason for keeping a jerk around."

Sorry, HR pros.  Unless you are a very unique bird, you won't qualify for for the "specialized skill" exemption when it comes to your own jerk-like behavior.   Same for you, my CPA brethren - don't you know we can find someone to do the numbers without putting up with your constant ranting? 

But Bobby Knight or Mike Gundy?  Who's going to coach the team if they leave?  We can't lose them!!


Paul Hebert

In an industry driven by relationships I get this all the time. "We can't let him/her go... she has a relationship with the top buyer."

Boy - that has caused many, many good people who support the account to leave.

At some point there is a cumulative affect. Yeah, Michael Jordon was good. But if keeping him costs you four other players (good players) you could probably do without.

We make the mistake of looking at this type of thing at a moment in time versus OVER time. Doing that will convince you that yes, you can, do without.

Keeping this type of person also starts to communicate to the masses that this is the the behavior you recognize and reward so again, over time, you get more of them.

People aren't stupid. They see someone behaving like a two-year old and getting rewarded soon you'll be running a kindergarten.

Just my humble opinion.

Frank Roche

Well said...commodity jobs versus specialty. It's the superstars who are one of a kind who get away with it, but do it at your peril in a place where they can clone 10 of you and don't care. Great thinking on this one.

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