Leadership, A Strong Workplace Culture and Marty

If you looked at the high school or college grades of those you work with, you’d most likely be shocked. A’s don’t necessarily equal job excellence. Conversely, C-students tend to do just fine and even run gigantic companies.

When I was in my 20’s-30’s, I believed that there was a direct correlation between one’s workplace skills, output and their school performance. I was young & foolish.

Thankfully, I began to take notice that many of the women and men I worked with in sales and leadership roles were often average students that were driven by forces other than grades. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with A’s or attending a prestigious university. That’s fine but hiring based mostly on grades and school ranking in today’s marketplace is often a mistake. It’s important to make sure that candidates are genuinely enthused about the company and role, plus are a good “cultural add” to the organization.

I am open about this when speaking to employees and management, when presenting at conferences and when having one-on-ones with C-level leaders.

I saw it decades ago. Many of us did. Business suffers, productivity decreases and a cancer-like infection begins to spread when we make hire too many chumps!

One of today’s popular phrases is ‘positive workplace culture and inclusion.’ And, I believe that this is truer today than any other time in our history. But sometimes you have to exclude someone to grow a stronger workplace.

I fired Marty after 25 years of service because he was negative, crass, mean and didn’t wear socks. Okay, I never looked at Marty’s feet, but the rest is true. As a leader, I noticed him being verbally aggressive, rude and ever not so PC. Not checked, this behavior could infect my team, reduce productivity and lower morale. He was destroying our culture.

Notice, I never mentioned what a royal pain in this ass this man was for me to manage. That was on me. And, it was my job to shield my team from his caustic diatribes and behavior!

Many warnings, chats and write-ups failed to bring this intelligent and often talented man into the fold. He did not care about anyone on the team — not really. He was all about Marty and he loved to show you that.
The day I let him go (aka fired him) was difficult. I knew it was going to rock his world. I knew he thought he was untouchable. And, I knew that my team would mostly benefit from his absence. Plus, it sent a loud message to the rest. You don’t need to totally conform, nor do you have to always agree with me. But you must understand that we work together and must have each other’s back.

Mostly negative doesn’t work, it hurts. Marty sold a lot of product. Many people did not like him. If he chose to work on assisting our culture and not eroding it, we might have had a different conversation.

How do you lead? Do you have a person like Marty who is single-handedly destroying culture and setting team members back? Get rid of that person ASAP. Don’t wait. You’ll lose staff, see a decrease productivity and business plus create more people like Marty.

Firing allows team members to breathe easier, stress less, work more efficiently and continue to grow a culture of trust, sharing of ideas and information. Plus, business often increases when one bad apple is set free regardless of their sales productivity.

Who is the negative force at work?  Who is your Marty? Is it time to send them packing?

To learn more or to set up time to chat with Scott visit http://www.scottlesnick.com/

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