How Do You Transform Brilliant Jerks Into Inspiring Leaders?

Dr. Relly Nadler: Today, we are going to bring on Dr. Katrina Burrus. She is going to help us talk about how to transform brilliant jerks into inspiring leaders. So, we will get her to talk more about what is a brilliant jerk. And then, what can you do – we have all had those folks in our work world.

Let me bring on, Cathy.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Hey, Relly. I am so excited, today, to hear about what we do with the jerks in our lives because all of us have them. We may even be those jerks for all we know but hopefully, we will learn more about that today as well.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Right, right. That’s funny.

Hopefully, we are not those jerks to others but if we are, we may need to manage ourselves. So, we will learn some of those tips.

So, Cathy, let me just introduce, Katrina, then we will bring her on.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Relly Nadler: So, Dr. Katrina Burrus is the CEO and founder of Excellent Executive Coaching LLC. She’s known for fast-tracking leaders into the C suite and beyond.

We talked about her book, Transforming Brilliant Jerks into Inspiring Leaders. So, we are going to zero in on that.

We are also going to talk about some of the other books that she’s written, one around global leadership.

So, she really has worked all over the world; she has worked with companies like Nestle, Novartis, World Health Organization, The International Labor Organization, The United Nations, and then more recently featured Mexico, India, US, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

She’s got a broad reach of where she has reached in and helped coaches. We will try to tap that to bring some of the information to you, our listeners.

So, Katrina, welcome to the show.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: Thank you. It’s just so wonderful to have thought leaders being interviewed by such prestigious thought leaders. So, thank you for the opportunity.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Katrina, we always love to start our program by asking our guests to tell us a little bit about who has been the influencers, the biggest influencers, in your life that have brought you to where you are today.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: I think I would say three people.

One was the CEO of Nestle, who then became chairman and now is recently retired, Peter Brabeck. I think he gave me the first really important project. That gave me the confidence to start my own business.

I think, my mother, for her faith in me.

And then I would say the brilliant but a little bit abrasive leaders I’ve had in my life and in my personal life as well. That has made me think about this subject and research it.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Oh, that’s good. We are excited to hear that, especially with what you are going to be sharing about what you’ve learned from those brilliant and sometimes abrasive leaders as you’re saying.

Before we jump into that, give us – for our listeners – what’s the scope of your practice. Cathy and I do training, we do a lot of strategic training. We do executive coaching. We have our platform.

But give us the scope of what you provide to folks.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: I’m obviously an executive coach. I help leaders fast-track to the C suite and also help smart leaders be even more savvy. The other is consulting work to see the culture of the company and do research work to see what is an enabler for change and what is resisting any kind of change. So, that’s one. I do research work a lot in my practice.

Coaching is a very important part of this. Again, one is to add EQ to their IQ and the other is also to have them succeed in a new assignment.

Dr. Relly Nadler: One last thing before we jump in there; where are you based? Like where is most of your work?

Dr. Katrina Burrus: I’m an American and Swiss. I grew up in Switzerland. So, that’s where – Geneva and Switzerland are very international. It has a huge – the UN is there. All the UN organizations are there. You have a lot of pharmaceutical, and perfume companies. So, that’s where I basically did most of my professional life and I have recently moved to Las Vegas three and a half years ago.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Oh, really?

Dr. Katrina Burrus: So, that’s… yeah. So, it’s really…

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Yeah. Las Vegas is a little different than Switzerland. It might be a little bit of a cultural assimilation there.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: Yes.

Dr. Relly Nadler: What brought you to Las Vegas? Because it is an interesting switch.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: Well, that’s because I divorced. That’s right. So, I thought a new beginning, a new continent, a new experience. I’m also American so it was nice to go back to your roots in some ways.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Yeah.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: And Vegas because my son was doing Hotel School here.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Oh, okay. That’s great.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: Yes, it is very different because it’s really, almost, a pioneer place where entrepreneurship is thriving here. I must say. Switzerland is an older culture, with more traditional, more conservative.

But I’ve been doing that – I lived in Spain. I lived in Italy and Germany. So, I’m used to starting and having new beginnings with totally different cultures.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Oh, that’s great.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, tell us a little bit about how you, personally in your work, integrate the concepts of emotional intelligence into your coaching and how you find it to be helpful to these brilliant but abrasive leaders, as you call them.

Dr. Katrina Burrus: Well, usually, they’re brilliant jerks as I call them, affectionately. I know that doesn’t sound like that but let’s say they are absolutely brilliant in an area. They might be good experts, or engineers, or it could be, for example, the hospital wanted to attract a top-notch surgical or heart surgeon and then they find out that no nurse really wants to work with them.

So, interpersonally, he can’t manage people that well, or he alienates people. So, that’s where the focus is not on having them be better professionals, it’s having their better interpersonal skills. Be inspirational, lead better, and empower others to develop themselves so that they are less dependent on the star – which is the brilliant person, the brilliant leader.

So, to go back to that example, the top-notch surgeon that the hospital has been waiting years to draw into the hospital, well, now, this person needs to learn how to teach other people to have more know-how and to be better and not demotivate them but inspire them to be better people.

Does that answer your question?

You can listen to the entire interview above by clicking on the play button.

Leave a Reply