Not every jerk needs to be fired

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There are a ton of great articles about the value and benefit of getting rid of jerks within your organization.

One of my favorites is, Why Firing Brilliant Assholes Is Required to Build a Great Engineering Culture.

Don’t get me wrong. Jerks aren’t fun. They’re not great. They can ruin teams and cultures.

But sometimes those jerks are us.

Sometimes the only difference between a pleasant employee and a jerk is some insecurity.

When I am feeling particularly insecure, I can get short with people, have less patience, get frustrated quickly, and more.

What about you? Do you ever get that way?

And what if that jerk across the way is just like me (or you)? What if insecurity is causing those things to appear?

Three ways I deal with someone else’s insecurity

1. I speak to it directly.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is bring up the issue directly and talk about it. While the initial part of the conversation can be a bit awkward, the rest of it can be delightful. Sometimes people don’t know they’re reacting out of insecurity. One time the person I brought it up with started crying – from relief!

2. I praise and thank people.

Other times I rely on the truth my wife often shares with our kids, “You catch more flies with honey.” Sometimes when my insecurities are flaring up, a nice (and honest) bit of praise can go a long way. So I try to leverage this approach with others. It sounds silly, but every time it works, I’m shocked.

3. I ask for help.

The thing about insecurities is that they make you feel powerless. But when I ask for help, I’m naturally expressing that someone else has power to help me. It mitigates, or can mitigate, that feeling of powerlessness in the person whom I predict may be feeling a bit insecure.

So those are my three moves. Do you have others that help you? Let me know on Twitter.

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