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Dr Katrina Burrus: Transforming Brilliant Jerks into Inspiring Leaders

Episode 54

About Dr Katrina Burrus: She is a master certified coach and is one of the world’s leading experts on international leadership. She facilitates a mastermind for CEOs of international companies and she’s also the author of three books: “Abrasive Leaders”, “Global Nomadic Leaders”, and “Managing Brilliant Jerks”. She’s worked with Nestle, Navartis, and even the United Nations. She’s especially good at helping executives succeed in a new assignment.


In this episode, Jordan and Dr Katrina Burrus discuss:

  • Brilliant jerks vs. demanding leaders

  • How culture impacts how a leader is perceived

  • Understanding the motivation of brilliant jerks

  • Transforming brilliant jerks to inspiring leaders

  • Helping brilliant jerks understand the problem

Key Takeaways

  • Brilliant jerks are highly competent. When things aren’t done right, they react by attacking, dominating, or humiliating. Often they are unaware of their impact on others.

  • Polite in one culture can be seen as unassertive or unsure in another. Demanding leaders adapt their leadership style to the situation.

  • The ego of brilliant jerks are attached to results, achievement, recognition and success. The only way they know that they’re doing good is if things are getting done. This often originates from childhood experiences.

  • As a coach, give them control right off the bat. Ask them what they think about why they’re being coached right now and walk them through questions that will make them curious about themselves and how they have treated others.

  • Bring data and research to the coaching to help them honestly recognize how they need to change to be more effective.

“A lot of these people are unaware of the consequences of their behavior. If they’re made aware and can practice different behaviors for the situation, they can change and they can be more empathetic. It’s a message of hope.” — Dr Katrina Burrus

Get 3 complimentary bonuses at Dr. Burrus’s website:

  • Leadership Quotes

  • Exercise: How to develop your EQ to your IQ and prepare for a review with your employee

  • 18 Tips to Stop Abrasive Behavior

Connect with Dr Katrina Burrus:

Jordan Goldrich

Your host, Jordan Goldrich, grew up in a loud New York family and once lost an executive position because of his style. He is co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, Workplace Warrior®: People Skills For The No-Bulls**t Executive, Chief Operations Officer, Master Corporate Executive Coach, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. His guests are part of his international network of Workplace Warrior® executives, master corporate executive coaches, and thought leaders. Each guest will engage you in conversation about their successes, mistakes, and solutions. You will get strategies for being completely authentic, while you fulfill your commitment to your organization, build positive relationships, and take performance to an even higher level.

Connect with Jordan Goldrich: 

Get the complimentary guide: How To Select An Executive Coach at

Get the Am I Abrasive Self Test at


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