Manage a Challenging (and Valuable) Employee

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Genius often comes with downsides. If you have a valuable (but disruptive) employee on your team, try these management tactics:

  • Understand the risks. Your job is to balance cohesion and creativity on your team. If the employee is negatively affecting the culture, weigh the costs of keeping him around.
  • Don’t stifle people. The employee’s limitations may be the same source of her talents. Take a “control freak” who wants to own a project completely. If you view this as her work style instead of a difficulty, and perhaps give her a separate project to run with, you can leverage this talent instead of squashing it.
  • Keep things moving. Give creative individuals enough independence to innovate, but then move the project forward with individuals who can act.

Adapted from “How to Manage Your Smartest, Strangest Employee” by Jeff Stibel.

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