You most likely read that title and immediately had someone come to mind didn’t you?The loser. They are the drag on your team, the ones who complain and stir shit up or just suck the energy out of your high performing team.
Losers are not necessarily bad people, they just do not belong on your team. Maybe they’re generally unhappy in their job and need to move on to a role that would be more satisfying. Perhaps they have been burned by the company so many times they look at every new initiative with cynicism. Regardless of the reason, if they are not dealt with, they become nasty tumor in your team, a cancer that spreads throughout every organ in your company.
Robert Weinberg’s book on cancer, “One Renegade Cell” he emphasizes how many bizarre things must happen for a cancer cell to be produced, implanted and eventually, silently, and mysteriously grow to such proportions that it threatens the very existence of its host. With this in mind, we will briefly explore the various phases which neoplasms go through on their way to becoming a life threatening malignancy to your organization.
Before getting into what you should do, let’s get into what you should look for. Think over your team for a moment. Make a T-Chart. On one side of the chart, write down the list of people on your team whom you would lose sleep over if they turned a resignation in tomorrow. On the other side, write down a list of those on your team you find yourself secretly smiling at the prospect of them resigning. Now that you know the who…
Team members who are not engaged are a drag on momentum. Whether through vocal disapproval of progress or the gregarious, often secretive, act of digging their heels in against forward movement, these team members drag any successful effort you plan into the ground. I know from experience as a performer, I want my leader to rid the team of such people and when they don’t, it makes me question, “So why am I working so hard when obviously it’s not a real mandate?”
On the flipside, I have also been one of those against progress. Looking back to a job early in my career, I was one of those who needed to be drop kicked off the cliff. Now, I was a performer. Not being cocky, but I was the top performer on my team from a quantitative point of view. However, when things did not go my way, my attitude was cancerous. I was the one who secretly plotted against plans I did not buy into and even at times, made it a point to let everyone know vocally my disapproval. Looking back, I now understand and am grateful I was pushed out. Although I resigned, (to have the last word) the reality was, I pushed myself out through my own actions. To be honest, it was the best learning lesson I had professionally.
In most cases, the cancer cells in your team do not even realize how cancerous they are. There are three good reasons for this:
- In most cases, they are completely oblivious to their own fault, in large part due to their obsession with finding fault in everything else.
- Those members on your team rarely confront the cancer cells, choosing rather to take the path of least resistance, thereby, allowing the cancer to slowly spread.
- It’s not just them, it’s YOU! As the leader of the group, you have to confront this cancer and either
- Treat the illness through coaching (There are three options for a coaching strategy to consider for these types: coach them up, coach them over (find a better fit for their skill set), or coach them out.)
- Cut it out all together.
Remember, bizarre things must happen for a cancer cell to be produced, implanted and eventually, silently, and mysteriously grow to such proportions that it threatens the very existence of its host. Do not let the cancer spread. Intervene as soon as possible to save your team and your company.
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