It’s natural to respond to employees going through personal crises or enjoying tumultuous events, such as marriages and births. But have you volunteered to serve as therapist to some of your most troubled employees? If so, have you asked the rest of your staff if they like your new role?
For example, Joe spent much of each day talking with people on his large team about their personal problems. He thought his tender ministrations could turn anyone into a stellar performer.
To read the rest of this article from the Denver Business Journal, see: Catering to a few troublesome workers can backfire http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2008/04/14/smallb3.html
Joe was proud that he was a caring, people-person; a friend. He wasn’t an insensitive, bullying, abusive, slave driver. He wanted his team to be a family. He expected success as a result of his people-centered approach.
However, I saw that it was the same few unprofessional performers who always needed Joe’s support and care. For example:
- Jane lacked emotional control and blew up if she was ever asked to meet deadlines.
- Chuck always made sarcastic, personal comments about anyone who performed well.
- Bob was a negative, hostile, controlling and defensive bully.
- Joan was a smiling, manipulative, gossiping, backbiting rumor monger.
These four had chronic problems that spread their unprofessional behavior and prevented high-performance. They weren’t solid performers who maintained their professional demeanor and productivity despite being distracted by joyous events or suffering from personal turmoil.
Most of the solid performers still on Joe’s staff were looking to leave. They felt harassed, stressed, abused and abandoned while he was doing therapy on those four underperforming employees. Joe’s peers thought he should be reprimanded because his department was a bottle-neck.
Joe finally saw his problem and moved to fix it. Over time, through evaluations for both productivity and behavior, he held everyone on his team accountable. Despite the chance Joe offered them, three of the needy people did not begin to produce better or stop infecting the rest of the team. They continued to drag down the behavior and performance standards of the team.
Typically, when people have been given many special privileges, they sue when they stop getting catered to.
However, in this case, Joe got some gifts; one of the people needed the job and started performing, two left of their own accord because the environment had “turned hostile,” and only one had to be terminated. That person sued because of Joe’s “harassment.” But Joe had acted and documented appropriately and was vindicated.
Remember what Mr. Spock, from the original Star Trek, said, “Don’t sacrifice the many for the sake of the few.” Mr. Spock was always right.
Learn what you can do to eliminate the high cost of low attitudes, behavior and performance.