Posted by: kerrywills | July 16, 2010

Attitude vs Aptitude

I have been on several projects now where there are project resources who are very talented in their particular field but who have a pessimistic and almost toxic impact on the team morale.  These are the people who know a system or business area very well and therefore everyone comes to them for information. Because of this they get a sense of entitlement which makes them believe that they can act however they want and say whatever they want. Examples I have seen in my own career include…

  • Aggression towards vendor partners
  • Aggression towards other team members
  • Flagrant comments about management and other team members
  • Negative attitude about the project goals

Good attitude needs to be recognized

I suspect that because they are viewed as critical resources that management glosses over the attitude and doesn’t make a strong stand. My view is that, on my projects, I take attitude over aptitude any day. I would much rather have an optimistic resource who views themselves as part of the team than an expert who makes the project horrible for everyone who has to work with them. I have been on projects where I have rolled off talented people because their attitude was toxic and causing problems for the entire team.  Obviously the issue needs to be identified and brought to that person’s attention, but if the attitude does not change then I believe action is required.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr. Jim Steffen and linusjf, Jeff Ryan. Jeff Ryan said: attitude versus aptitude […]

  2. Agree with you a 100% ! I have also rolled off such people. I have seen that I have had to set the example only once in a project coz the message goes out loud and clear to the rest of the folks! My motto is – Nobody is indispensable, not even me 🙂

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