Your crucifying client or your difficult programmer… probably are not dumb, probably just clueless. There’s a distinction between two.
Every person takes actions based on their climate of opinions and the information at hand. If two people have the same climate of opinions and the same information, they’ll take the same action, every time, given they’re not dumb.
So, there are a lot of times where a lack of information leads to a bad choice. A lot of times where an out of sync climate of opinions leads to an inferior action.
A lot of organizations embrace a melting software development methodology instead of embracing an agile way that leads to better results. It’s probably because each of them started with a climate of opinions about the way projects worked and going to work. And to that little direct experience, and it’s no wonder they decided what they did. You would too if you were given the same imaginations, to begin with.
Changing the climate of opinion is extremely difficult and requires quite a bit of effort. Changing information at hand is relatively easier, and that’s where right communication skills can help. If you, as a communicator, can package information in a way that people with a certain climate of opinion can accept, you move the dialogue forward far more quickly than if you just conclude that your unreasonable customer or difficult boss is dumb.
I think, limiting climate of opinions (e.g. I can’t read Objective C code, I have never learned that language, ever.) is the most difficult hurdle to overcome. But a limiting climate of opinions doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it means that you’re playing yourself small.
The easiest way to arise is to inspire people who share a climate of opinion that endorses your point of view. The most effective way to arise even better than that is to inform those that disagree with your point of view more information in a luscious form.
And, unluckily, it turns out that the best way to make the world less clueless is to extend the boundaries of the persons with limiting climate of opinions.