Balancing Acts: The Jerks

Steve Jobs, by all accounts, was not a nice person. Jerk is an oft used descriptor. He was also a genius, the man who, without a doubt, made Apple the juggernaut it is today. So, how do we balance the good, the bad and the ugly. How much bad behavior is to be tolerated because the results are phenomenal? Is the amount of acceptable “jerkish” behavior allowed proportional to the amount of success?

Your personal deal breakers define your boundaries for day to day life. What are yours? Are there occasions when you make allowances? Why? Do you rationalize the erratic behaviors of successful people like Larry Ellison (Oracle), Travis Kalanick (Uber), Elon Musk (Tesla), as, that’s what it takes to make a company? Is that an endorsement of the jerk CEO? If so, how far down the management chain is an abusive style acceptable? What payoff would you require to work for someone of the dark triad¹?  This week, consider, what determines the balance between good behavior and bad for you.



¹The Dark Triad is a term used in psychology to describe three aversive yet functional (subclinical) personality traits—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy.

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