how to deal with know it alls

New Know-It-All Employee Wants to “Straighten Out” Boss

People Who Think They Know Everything

Have you ever worked with someone who–in just 3 months on the job–knows more than their boss who has been there 30 years?  In this case study on how to deal with know it alls, we’ll explore 3 ways of handling the situation. We’ll show you why one is most effective, so you’ll be well equipped if you have to deal with an office know it all.

The Situation

Over the last three months, Aaron has been working as a logistics specialist for a large regional food distributor. He was hired right out of grad school, where he was an honors student. He has quickly learned company operations under his boss, Carl, a three-decade veteran of the company.  Some consider Aaron to be a know it all.

You work at this firm as well, and you helped Aaron get his job. You’re having lunch with Aaron, and he sounds quite upset. He tells you that Carl’s approach to product distribution issues is out of date, and that Carl has been doing things the same way for too long.

You counter that Carl has a lot of practical experience, but Aaron cuts you short. “His approach would be a joke back at school. His thinking is tactical, but the whole emphasis today is on strategic management. He’s clueless. I need to set him straight!”

How to Deal with a Know It All

Aaron was hired to bring some new thinking to the company’s supply management, but you are concerned that his being confrontational so soon after being hired could end his employment with your firm. As a Q4 leader, what would be your best approach for dealing with a new employee who seems to know it all?

Dimensional Model of Behavior

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