Thursday, January 06, 2011

Smart People Bad Employees

Today I stumble upon an interesting topic, “When Smart People are Bad Employees”; which I agree, but too bad the article fall short by just categorizing the people without going into further analysis and "troubleshooting".

I guess I met a few talented or genius people in my life, and they do come in with “weird” characteristics or just plan difficult to work with. They can be 10 times as productive, or complete a task which no one else is capable of; but they are selective, doing only things they like, and in their own way (which might be very difficult for others to pick up later).

I guess we need to find a way to work with smart people, or find a mechanism to allow the superstar to perform at its peak without damaging the team too much. I guess superstar perform better in solitaire rather than team, thus he can spread his creativity and gone into warp speed 9 without any burdens and disruptions and create a wonderful product at the end. The problem? No one will be able to support the product when he leaves the company.

It might be hard to find talent, and it’s even harder to find talent that can we can milk. We need to learn what make them tick, and we might need to accommodate their needs with special exceptions and treatments. Some superstars are known to be problematic or a jerk, but they have the power to create miracle where no one else can, and hopefully he does not destroy your team in between. It’s difficult to gauge what to do, what not to do, or how to do it: it’s just a matter of how much of the price are we willing to pay in order to get the prize. Every now and then, we get disciplined superstar like Michael Jordan or Michael Schumacher; while most others become their own boss like Tiger Woods, Steve Jobs, etc. You have to admire how Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho manage their group of talented millionaires footballers; and how Google is having a hard time maintaining their talented millionaire employees.

Perhaps superstar survive better by being their own boss, thus they can set their own rules in order to perform; and hopefully will not drive their employees to madness. Talent is a powerful but unstable element, and Discipline could stabilize the element, and these two are hardly found together.

Somehow, I had chosen not to work too closely with these genius people who I had met, perhaps I couldn’t figure out a way how we can work together; the situation might turn out to be too “uncontrollable”, or everyone wanted to be in control, including me (perhaps I haven’t meet a dependable genius ). I always thought that I am smart (but not a genius), and I have higher discipline and a team player, thus I could create value for my employer. I guess I had change, as I had too much of my own thoughts and way of work, and could turn out to be a problematic employee. Nowadays, I think I can only work for a really good employer, someone who doesn’t do too many stupid things. My tolerance level for stupidity and bureaucracy had gone down a lot.

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