From inferiority to deceitfulness: Understanding a know-it-all person

Know-it-all person: Dealing with one

Martin is an assertive and enthusiastic kind of guy. During collaborative works, he projects himself as someone who has the plan, the experienced, and the one in the know. He is essentially the type of employee whose presence is felt and whose absence leaves a mark. And this does not mean he is loved by all of his peers.

To some of his colleagues, Martin can be unbearable. They think of him as someone who tends to interfere and throws himself around even when uninvited. What really annoys them is the fact that Martin thinks he knows everything. The most exasperating part is that those who didn’t know better would believe him.

While everyone would agree that assertiveness and enthusiasm are critical traits of any team player and thereby, essential elements of teamwork, too much can be detrimental. Martin, a self-confident and self-absorbed team member, for example, has a habit of undermining his colleagues. He dismisses ideas, opinions, and suggestions during brainstorming.

To make things worse, because he is an assertive and enthusiastic employee, the management often entrusts him with leadership roles.

Defining a know-it-all person

The likes of Martin pervade in some workplaces. They are deemed complex chiefly because a considerable part of their core personalities are misunderstood. Of course, who would take time and effort to comprehend and appreciate the groundwork of a know-it-all?

Still, they are an inevitable part of a workforce—a colleague to be exact. Promoting a healthy and collaborative workplace environment requires understanding even the most unbearable coworker.

There are two categories of know-it-all. The first one includes those individuals who have legit claim to possessing expansive knowledge acquired from accomplishments and experiences. They usually functions a managers, consultants, or educators. Others may have simply built their reputations as go-to persons offering subject-matter expertise. The second one includes those so-called pseudo know-it-alls.

It is not clear where Martin falls between the two categories. If a considerable number of people abhor him, chances are, he is a pseudo know-it-all. Those who have legitimate knowledge are not hard to like because people tend to look up to them and consider them as mentors. What sets them apart from the pseudo know-it-alls is that although they appear to be in possession of vast amounts of knowledge, they know their limitations and they cease from providing ideas, opinions, or suggestions on matters outside the realm of their expertise.

Traits of a know-it-all person

Below are some pointers to keep in mind when dealing someone who think he or she knows it all:

They crave for acknowledgement

Throwing random facts even if they were uncalled for usually signals a strong desire to be appreciated. Pseudo know-it-alls have some degrees of inferiority complex despite projecting themselves as confident and assured experts. Thus, these individuals push themselves into conversations and whenever they feel shelved off, they resort to throwing strong opinions just to get the attention of their peers.

While some are indeed smart, there are pseudo know-it-alls who are actually attention-deprived underperformers, especially during their younger years. Years of frustrations taught them that in order to get approval and recognition, they need to position themselves as individuals who seemingly possess infinite knowledge.

Tendency to manipulate or coerce

With a desire to shove random facts down someone’s throat coupled with despair for attention and an inferiority complex, pseudo know-it-alls have a strong disposition toward manipulating others.

They usually start off as someone helpful and reachable with hopes to make people around them dependent. However, once clenched in their claws, they start to boss around. Gullible colleagues often fall prey.

Highly conversant through quick learning

If pseudo know-it-alls have one positive trait worth noting, it would be their willingness and propensity to learn. And they do this quickly. Don’t get fooled nonetheless.

A strong disposition toward learning is an admirable trait. However, for a pseudo know-it-all, learning is something that can be done by merely skimming through facts or information. There is no denying that they are quick to learner but they are only able to do so because they know how to learn just enough about a subject to sound conversant in it.

Deceit often infuses with facts

On some occasions, a pseudo know-it-all will have to resort to exaggerations in order to supplement his or her shallow understanding about a particular subject or just to provide an opinion on something that he or she does not know anything about. While this obviously coincides with deceit, the pseudo know-it-all does not consider him or herself as a liar.

It is important to note that a pseudo know-it-all lives through pretentions. Exaggeration is nonetheless a form of pretentious behavior. This behavior further flares up during a stressful or uncomfortable situation.