he was personally destructive
We fired our top talent. Best decision we ever made.
Jonathan Solórzano-Hamilton

You say Rick was destructive and self-involved. But was Rick really personally destructive, or simply misunderstood? Truly narcissistic personalities make up a tiny percentage of the population worldwide- though it is possible Rick has neurotic tendencies, it is more likely he was responding from a place of unsteadiness around self-worth.

If Rick was berating others about sharing their ideas, why would he do that? The easy way out is to vilify him… but perhaps he was feeling under appreciated (maybe at home?), or frustrated that he wasn’t being heard.

Earlier in the piece, it was written: “He created a cult of dependence”. I understand there are always challenges when working in teams, but it is possible that internal dysfunctions in the team (and management) created a space of laziness and defeat. Perhaps people stopped trying to solve problems because the culture had defaulted to “Let Rick do it”. I wonder if he felt that too?

If you want people to work hard, you need to inspire them. If you have a genius in your midst, embrace that — don’t work them to the bone, but diversify their job description. Encourage workshop facilitation, ask them to develop the training workshops and break down chunks of information into easy-to-digest pieces. Give them feedback on their workshop delivery, and be patient. This will raise morale and for the genius, give them a chance to teach team members, and develop greater interpersonal skills. Furthermore, by bringing together your team through training, “Rick” would feel deeply appreciated for his skills and talent, and other team members would feel part of the experience. Other team members could then improve their areas, and innovate.

It seems to me, firing Rick was a knee-jerk reaction to his expressed emotions, and a misinterpretation of his emotional state. While Rick refused to take leave, I wonder if diversifying his workload earlier on, and giving him “forced leave” earlier on may have shifted this unfortunate string of events in a more positive direction.