Is this personality related, or is something else going on?

Jan 2021
1
0
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I've been working with a particular individual for a two years now, and it slowly became apparent that this fellow seems to think "differently". I don't know what contributes to his thought patterns, but there is a very clear pattern involving 3 elements that are present in almost every situation in which I interact with this person, and I'd love to understand them better, since I have to work with them.

These are the things that seem to be ever-present:

1. They don't seem to understand what activities he is, and isn't competent to perform. For example, the two of us have different skill sets, and when I'm using those skills in which I actually have professional training and experience, when I ask for his input (as a courtesy, since he ranks above me, but is not my supervisor; he has his job as a result of familial connections, and has had no professional success himself), he will generally have very different ideas at the best approach to something, which contradict well established mainstream knowledge in many fields, and will be insistent that his approach is somehow superior than mine, despite the fact that earlier on, when I didn't know him very well, I actually heeded his requests, and without exception, those projects have seriously suffered as a result. He will then generally blame a number of outside factors, and diminish, or completely ignore any role his ideas played in the failure. He does this when we hire outside professionals as well. It's painful to watch them try to function at their best, when he over-involves himself and forces them essentially work with a blindfold on, one hand tied behind their back, and one leg missing.

I am aware of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but this seems somehow different.

2. He is very adept at spotting all potential positives about his own ideas, yet is often completely oblivious to any problems that it may create, or fail to solve. This remains to be the case even when actual or potential problems are brought to his attention. The typical response to those conversations is that he'll listen to (but possibly not process) all critique related to his idea, and will promptly re-state his idea, usually with a phrase like "I just don't understand why that's a problem", despite the fact that he was just spoon-fed a detailed analysis of those same problems. After the fact, he won't accept that any given idea has been a failure, even when every measurable outcome to indicate that it has not been successful.

3. He has immense difficulty dividing his attention. He can pay close attention to something, but it is completely impossible to shift his attention between tasks unless he has just finished something. Interestingly, if he's on the phone, texting in a silent room, or browsing the internet, someone could enter his office and greet him by name (at a volume slightly above normal conversation), and there will literally be no response. Not even a glance. In fact, you could continue speaking for the greater portion of a minute, and if and when he finally does notice you, will be completely unaware that you were trying to speak to him.

My solution at the moment is to avoid involving him in things, and if I do, making sure that if he does pitch a bad idea, I might acknowledge it, but have to make great effort not to respond in any meaningful way, since as soon as there's a conversation, my chances are very low of getting him off the subject.