Do you have a Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson working at your business? These are the incredibly talented employees whose behavior is destructive to the culture of your company. They may be the top salesperson that never comes to work on time. It may be the most senior employee that is always bad mouthing the customers. While you pretend that these standouts and your business can coexist, they are in fact destroying your company from the inside out. What makes it worse, every other employee knows it and, in fact, it affects their own performance.
Remember that you teach what you tolerate. By allowing their behavior, you are sending the message they are special and that the rules do not apply to them. Your short term thinking further encourages their harmful behavior. The sooner that the business owner realizes the overall effect, the faster the company can move forward.
To be proactive, here are the steps to take today:
- Envision a company without them. Imagining your business without these star players is scary. But think of how all the performances of the other team members will improve without them.
- Counsel them. They will be surprised when you first approach them that their behavior is detrimental to the rest of the team since you have tolerated it for so long. They will think that their performance more than makes up for any other bad behavior. Instead, review exactly what you expect and how you will monitor their future behavior. Most likely, they will agree to try to change.
- Hold them accountable for their behavior. Since change is difficult, the star employee needs to be monitored on an ongoing basis. Each time they exhibit the bad behavior again, review the change you expect. Repeat on an ongoing basis.
- Fire them (if necessary). In reality, few of these star employees will be able to change and in most cases, they will need to be fired. Be prepared to have to replace this person and have the timing fit when it is optimal for the company. Use documentation that you have monitored to complete the separation process.
- Share with the team. Tell the team why the star employee was let go and what the plan is to move forward without them. Most of them will applaud your decision and will work harder to help with the transition.
Who are the bad boys and girls inside your company?