Sometimes it’s important to pay attention to that creepy feeling you have about an employee – even if you don’t know why you have it.

After her team doubled in size in a year, Anna hired Debbie as her personal assistant.

Before Debbie arrived, productivity was high and the group had a natural camaraderie.  Key elements were its flexibility and their willingness to put projects on hold and take on new ones, and to pass off partially completed projects to other team members as corporate directives required.  And group members accepted with good grace, each other’s personal quirks that didn’t interfere with work.

But after Debbie arrived, Anna noticed a change.  The symptoms were clear, but the cause wasn’t.

To read the rest of this article from the Pittsburgh Business Times, see:
One bad apple spoils a whole team

  • Employees quit kidding each other.
  • They stopped eating quick lunches together in the break room.  Instead, they ate alone or went for long lunches in pairs or small groups, mostly with Debbie.
  • They started isolating themselves, working in silos and not wanting to pass projects along to other team members or to put projects on temporary hold when something else needed attention.
  • They began resisting and criticizing Anna’s goals and corporate changes.
  • No matter what Anna did, her team members were irritated and grumpy.  She simply couldn’t please them.

During the next three months, Anna carefully observed the effects of Debbie’s influence on the members of her team.

See the original article for details about what Anna saw and what she did.

Most people would advise Anna not to act just because she had a creepy feeling – but when she gets that feeling, she should investigate immediately.

However, Anna goes further.  She now recognizes that she got that feeling during Debbie’s interview.  Also, in her life, she’s had that feeling with only two other people and both times the person was extremely destructive.  Also, Anna recognizes the difference between that creepy feeling and how she feels when she simply doesn’t like or is scared of someone.

She’s decided that she’ll act immediately if she ever gets that creepy feeling about an employee, even without definitive proof.  She bears the scars of the year of damage that Debbie caused.

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