The Know-It-Alls

“Your attitude not your aptitude will determine your altitude.” —Zig Ziglar

Did you accidentally hire a Know-It-All? How did it happen? The answer: They had all the right answers and you failed to dig deeper into how they achieved them. They possessed the technical skills you really desired and their references agreed, but gave superficial responses to questions about their ability to work well with others.

The Know-It-Alls do not usually work well with others. They tell you the current results are good enough and spend more time complaining about problems than fixing them. They criticize new and innovative solutions from others, relying on their way of getting things done.

Although Know-It-Alls may have the right skills for the position, they are a poor fit with jobs requiring critical people and project management responsibilities, in other words working with and through other people to achieve intended results on time and within budget. Since many Know-It-Alls are unwilling to be coached and are in denial of their limitations, you must provide them with projects that allow them to work on their own.

Require that they meet with you periodically to assess their progress. Don’t be afraid as their boss to ask good business questions and expect the right answers delivered in a respectful manner. If they show a negative attitude, or disregard or dismiss your concerns, provide them with a “come down to reality” conversation: Remind them it doesn’t matter where you work or who you work for, you must listen to others and realize that 99 percent of the world’s information resides in others’ heads.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013


Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, achieving dynamic results. Along the way, she helped create three millionaires. You may contact her at to discuss your coaching challenges.


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