The other day I had lunch with a good friend who was telling me about her new job. To say that she had a rocky start would be an understatement. What was inspiring, but not surprising knowing her, was how after only 7 months on the job, she transformed a toxic team into one that is cohesive, respectful and productive.
I was thinking of all of you when I asked this question, “how did you do it?”
Out of the 25 people she inherited, 2 of them were the most challenging. And one of them in particular was enough to make most people quit.
We all, unfortunately, know the type of person my friend had to deal with. Long term with the company, very vocal when things don’t go their way, and have seen other managers come and go. They rarely get the feedback and coaching they deserve for their negative behavior, which tells them it’s okay. Left unchecked, you get an employee no one wants to deal with.
Which could have been my friends approach, but it wasn’t. She stuck to that employee, got to know her, gave honest feedback and didn’t let her get away with her usual shenanigans. A few months in, the employee went to my friends boss and essentially said, “this isn’t working out, it’s either me or her!” Luckily for my friend, her boss wasn’t playing that game, and the employee ended up resigning.
The other bad apple ended up leaving shortly thereafter.
It wasn’t too long until the other 23 people realized how much more pleasant work had become, so much less negativity. So much less hostility.
I often ask people if they would rather run their operation with a full staff including the bad apples, or a little short staffed with with everyone giving 100%. Overwhelmingly the answer is short staffed with an engaged and productive crew.
It’s a tough call to make, but sometimes the tough answers are also the right answers.
In fact, most of the time that’s that case.
Have you had situations like this? How did you handle it?