Once again I have found that at least two of the members of my Vistage CEO group have very similar problems with a senior member of their management team.
In essence, both of them are excellent performers, highly competent, hard working, dedicated employees and both of them exhibit symptoms which constantly militate against great relationships with the members of their teams.
If we plot performance against attitude and behaviour on a quadrant matrix, we would normally be looking to have all our top team in the top right hand quadrant, that is, great performer with great attitude.
In the other hand if we find that any employee drops into the bottom left quadrant, which is low performance and poor attitude, then we need to ask ourselves, why is this employee still here?
If we have someone who has great attitude but indifferent performance it is always feasible to help them to improve their performance with training.
The real problem children are those in the top left quadrant, people who are great performers with poor attitude and behaviour.
These are the ones who we tend to defend or rather justify their shortcomings simply because we are reluctant to lose their impact on the business and specifically the bottom line.
The question is: how long can we continue to put up with the negativity caused by disruptive employees and more specifically, members of the senior management team?
This problem is not confined to sales people although perhaps it is found in that group rather more than in others. Sales people by definition tend to be loners, spend most of their time away from base and forget that base gives them the backup that they need.
The amount of leadership time that has to be devoted to the problem especially with senior people, the corrosive influence which is felt throughout the business and the tendency of good people to leave because of the atmosphere, can be a serious problem for the leader.
I saw a quote a few days ago, which said, in effect, that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. If that is the case then it is mandatory that the leader ensures that morale in the business is not compromised by bad attitude from the top.
The big question is what can be done to improve the shining hour?
Whatever is decided, it has to start with confrontation or in the Vistage phraseology, carefrontation?
Unless the issue is confronted quickly and that will mean hard discussions with the backslider, then the malaise will continue to blight the atmosphere and again, take up vast amounts of time, effort and emotion.
There are various routes that can be taken; for example confronting the miscreant with his/her shortcomings and suggesting that efforts need to be made to correct them, perhaps using the services of an outside coach and/or mentor, having the individual join a peer group and general performance management.
However, if there is no improvement then the nettle has to be grasped or the bullet bitten, which ever cliché you prefer, and there will need to be a parting of the ways which will be for the greater good of the business and the people in it.
Ed Ryan, Vistage speaker asks why it is that it takes us eighteen months to terminate an employee who we interviewed for an hour and a half. It is consistent, by the way, that the usual reaction from colleagues and other employees is:
“ What took you so long?”