Think of Sheldon. It's funny to watch him because he is so much like people we struggle to work with. He is massively intelligent and seldom wrong. He is woefully lacking in self-awareness and self-regulation. He is childlike and frightened by relationships and instinctively does things to avoid them. He is fearful of being wrong and he is the poster child for "protect and defend." He leaves a wide wake. Think of how much impact it has on his friends. He has a strong offense, leaving others on the defense. Using our Trimetrix HD assessment, we've learned highly technical staff tend to be high compliance (get one task done perfectly or don't do it) in behavioral style and high theoretical (always learning) and traditional (has a set of rules to live by and you'll likely never know them) values. If you are interested in comparing yourself to our "Sheldon-potential" job benchmark, contact Brittney (firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-475-9311 x3)
In gnarly meetings, I have seen one devious person derail the whole thing while intelligent, insightful thoughts lay scattered under the conference room table. What just happened? Why doesn't positive performance prevail? This IT caricature, prevalent in our current culture, seems to manifest anywhere there are smart, detail oriented individuals. Make no mistake, these are talented and critical employees. Aligning them to collaborative behavior is critical for organizational success.
Remember how Sheldon negotiates what he wants. If we're honest, his negotiating looks more like bullying. His friends take the bait every time. Do they just grow exhausted and give up or are they unable to negotiate effectively? Either way, Sheldon wins. Do you have Sheldons at work?
In this LearningFlash, I am going to take on the strong offense of some highly intelligent technical people who are using their talents for manipulation instead of value. Full disclosure, I have an expired (should have, anyway) Computer Science / Math degree from Purdue. I listen to NPR constantly and I love educational television. I am the only person I know who doesn't watch (runs screaming from) Game of Thrones and theWalking Dead. I have nerd tendencies and I come by it honestly. My father may have been the original Sheldon. I only remember him being wrong once. I work with a lot of highly intelligent, technical people and I really like them. I even married one. This is not about all technical people- just the ones who are taking advantage of others.
Most believe that a person like this can never change, but I don't believe that. I've seen people who do the inner work required to work with others and reduce the need to always be perfectly right. It's not easy but it is possible. All of us have to work to be a better self. If you continue to be Sheldon, it severely limits how far you can climb in leadership. In this LearningFlash, I am going to share some real-life stories and mitigation that provide the pathway to move a crazy nerd to trusted colleague.