I have seen many a company slugging it out, the owner and staff stressed, and overall not doing too well. One of the main reasons behind this is that some staff are truly part of the team, and some are not.
Those that are, are easy enough to identify; they work hard, they go beyond their level of duty, they participate, they help others, they are upbeat, they follow the goals and policy set by the founders of the company, and in general are pleasant to be around. You can count on them to produce and they do!
We have traced slows and failures down to a few people; they actually cause the failure, stress and overwork, and EVERY TIME, once that person/those people are removed from the group, it factually flourishes! The remaining staff suddenly like being there, the owner enjoys coming to work, production lines “magically” seem to function better and production rolls right on out.
Why? Unfortunately, though a very, very small percentage, people exist who actively confuse others, like to cause upsets, who thrive when things are not going well, and are loaded with disagreements about pretty much everything they come into contact with. It is not worth the time and effort to handle this type of staff. You are running a business for the good of all concerned, so why keep someone around who is pushing in the opposite direction?
The problem is usually that it’s hard to face the fact that there are ill-intentioned people. One of the traits of the ill-willed is that they consider “things just happen,” with no real cause, and that they have nothing to do with it. This type habitually blames others for their “misfortunes.”
I have often heard business owners keeping these bad-apples because, “she’s been here so long,” or worse, “he’s a family member.” They dread having to deal with this person, all the while other staff report consistent upsets and botched job performance.
In an ideal world, this type of staff wouldn’t exist. Those that cause trouble would not be allowed to be part of any real team. They would be identified and removed quickly. The other side of this coin, just make positive you have located the right person. The really ill-willed will suggest and point out others as the cause knowingly, and you can lose your good staff as a result.
How do you tell what’s really up? Look for the highly-critical, the constant complainer, the ‘nicely critical’ (the worse kind) who tears you down in an effort to ‘help you’, the non-producer with the big welfare ideas that they must be paid no matter what they produce, the one that seems to upset others consistently, and one that will not change no matter what you try.
Here is a great example I will never forget! I had a practice owner tell me over and over again about a staff member in this category, but this owner did not have the guts to handle her so her business just kept having problems.
This went on and on. I had her read some technical information about this; she completely agreed and stated she knew that staff had to go! I had told her for some time that one day this would blow up without any doubt. But she just couldn’t face this staff, until the shoe dropped… While lunching at a nearby restaurant she overheard that staff member cutting her to shreds to a new hire! She couldn’t believe what was being said behind her back! She fired the gal on the spot and what a relief; the company did much better after that point!
A word of caution. You don’t want a work environment where all staff are “sweet and nice.” You want a productive environment as the paramount target. You and those around you will blow a gasket once in a while, or upset someone, but this is an “acute” circumstance. I am talking here about the chronic offenders.
Don’t go shooting until you have fully verified data. Try your best to handle it and see if you can get a change. If not, DO NOT hesitate. The other end of this is a bright better future, building a strong, well-trained, fun, and highly productive team.
Craig Ferreira, CEO