25 July 2021

Season 2, Episode 27. Managing Brilliant Jerks with Dr. Katrina Burrus

In this episode, we welcome Dr. Katrina Burrus to explain how to manage brilliant jerks, how communication is more than just our words, how we can help brilliant jerks, as well as create a work environment that doesn’t foster brilliant jerks.


Dr. Katrina Burrus, CEO/founder of Excellent Executive Coaching LLC, is known for "Fast-tracking leaders to the C-Suite and Beyond" and for "Transforming Brilliant Jerks into Inspiring Leaders." Clients often comment that working with Katrina enlightens leaders to empower co-workers to walk the extra mile.


She is a keynote speaker and published, “Managing Brilliant Jerks" and, "Global Leadership" a body of work used by Nestle, Novartis, the World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, the United Nations, and many more. She was most recently featured in Mexico, India, the U.S., Kazakhstan, and Russia. Dr. Burrus has 18 years of experience as the first Master Certified Coach and Founding Board Member from the (ICF) International Coaching Federation in Switzerland.



[00:16] On Dr. Katrina’s Book, Managing Brilliant Jerks  

  • What inspired her to write the book
    • Growing up in a family of “brilliant jerks,” Katrina realized how what they said was well-intended, but because of how it was communicated, it was hurtful
  • How brilliant jerks can change
    • Coachability: Leaders need to listen when they get irrefutable data that their ways are not working as they expected
  • Giving effective feedback
    •  Get information that is so specific, that they know exactly what to do to change 



[06:14] Issues In Communication

  • 80% of our communication is nonverbal
    • Our leadership can come from more than just our words
  • The cost of and impact to the company of a brilliant jerk
    • Distressed employees and coworkers
    • A toxic environment that becomes a vicious cycle
    • A bad company culture
    • Employees or leaders that are scared to speak up and avoidant of important issues
  • The importance of clear communication
    • With leadership, oftentimes there are multiple assumptions that lead up to moments where we have to have hard conversations


[11:50]   The Difference Between An Inspiring Leader And A Brilliant Jerk

  • A brilliant jerk sees a problem as a threat to their status and self esteem. When they become triggered, they react impulsively, and even aggressively by dominating, intimidating, and threatening
  • An inspiring leader steps back and evaluates the reason for a problem, not seeing it as a direct impact on their image, but focusing on the other person and how to make them succeed



[13:39] Brilliant Jerks and Their Work Enviornments 

  • Does their environment trust them?
    • Just like the way environment plays a huge role in rehabilitation from behavior or addiction, the environment of a ‘brilliant jerk’ plays a huge role on the retainment of their training and changed behaviours
    • When they go back to the corporation, how will the people perceive that person? Do they still see them as a brilliant jerk? Or do they see that that person has changed         
  • How can workplace culture avoid creating brilliant jerks?
    • Look deeply at the corporation and their values. The prevention of toxic leadership is something that must be part of the culture. It's got to transpire in what they say and what the leaders do



[19:28]  Final Words

  • If you know a brilliant jerk that needs help, send them to https://mkbconseil.ch/ where they can go through an exercise called ‘How To Develop Your EQ’


Key Quotes:


 “80% of our communication is nonverbal. It's more than just what comes out of our mouth. It's how we position our body, what our face is doing, all the things that makes somebody have an impression of you.” - Natalie Born


“You really have to look at the organization. How do they evaluate the leadership? … Are the leaders communicating not only what they want to achieve, but how they want to achieve it, and what they want to represent and what the company's values are? These are all things that need to be part of the culture.” - Dr. Katrina Burrus



Connect with Dr. Katrina

Visit her website: https://mkbconseil.ch/

You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@KatrinaBurrus)

Listen to her podcast Excellent Executive Coaching


Resources Mentioned:


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