Bad Attitudes That Disrupt Team Culture and Progress

Leadership is the most exciting responsibility yet has the most opportunity to be just as deflating.  Many of our exciting and deflating moments are related to other people – our team members.   To grow an organization you need people to scale, to sell services and products, to deliver what was sold and provide the “experience”, and of course the list goes on and on.

Got Leverage?

First things first.  No, you do not need more of you.  You need team members who leverage you, supplement your deficiencies, people who love doing things that you avoid if possible.  Consider your own highest and best uses.  As an example, could a doctor order supplies?  Absolutely!  However, is the doctor’s time better spent ordering supplies or working with patients?  And you might think “I don’t do that” yet almost every business owner handles daily duties that should be delegated to someone else.  And, that is a limiting factor for you, your team and your business.  Where you go from here is completely up to you.

Organizational Effectiveness Is Achieved With People

Every employer says they want to hire the best people to achieve their goals and Organizational Excellence.  Yet many settle for the wrong fit due to the perceived work in finding the right person.  Great hiring starts with identifying and communicating the ideal job description, expectation and responsibilities for a position.  Then the hiring process should be rigorous enough for the candidate to demonstrate that they have the skill, the will and the attitude to do what has been outlined in the job description as well as their own resume.  Hire people that you believe will get you to the championship, not someone who will merely allow you to survive.  Think back to your original vision. You were likely dreaming more about thriving, not surviving.

Got expectations?

As mentioned in the opening of this article, an employer’s greatest and worst moments are often tied to employees and their performance. The purpose of a job description is to set expectations and create clarity. With relationships, most people find it easier to set expectations with new acquaintances as opposed to correcting, changing or realigning expectations with someone we have known for an extended period of time. You know what I am talking about. Remember that team member?? Owners and managers need to set expectations for not only the job description but also time frames for acquiring skills, performance factors, exceling to the next level, etc. Over the past 19 years every client that I’ve worked with and their team has listed communication as one of the top three obstacles to success. With clear expectations mated to your business objectives your team members will thrive and you will be far less frustrated. More importantly, you can stay focused on the responsibilities that only you can or should handle. The U.S. Department of Labor states that a bad hire will cost an employer 30% of the employee’s annual salary. Shocking isn’t it?  For many employers I think this is a huge understatement when you consider how one person’s lack or performance adversely effects other employees and customers. Think of the compounding effect across several employees being adversely effected.

Where is the Trojan Horse?

You should be doing everything with the mindset that we build the perfect team to leverage yourself and your vision. Yet there will be times where we allow the trojan horse into the organization. The trojan horse comes in the form of a team member (or a few) who is deficient in one or all of the following core areas – skill, will and/or attitude. Employers need team members that bring the skill to do the job, or are willing to learn the skill, and do so in a reasonable period of time. Skills without the will to deliver on the skills or with a less than stellar attitude are all too often the cancer (Trojan Horse) that grows within an organization. This leaves owners and managers focused on being reactionary as opposed to building and refining their business and customer experience. How do you want to spend your time? Building? Or rebuilding?

Recognizing and dealing with the Trojan Horse is a practiced skill.  This is why it is so critical to create unquestionable expectations in the beginning as it will be so much easier to address skill, will or attitude deficiencies when you see them. How to address issues can vary greatly. That is what makes managing people so entertaining. There is always a lot of variety along the way! I will guarantee you this – it is far easier to address deficiencies when they are smaller than waiting to see if the problem goes away.  Those small things tend to grow into the Trojan Horse, and at that point you have a real problem. A real, serious problem.

Some options to improve communication could include any one or all of the following actions:

  • Stop by for an impromptu conversation to see what is going on. Literally: “Hello Amy.  How is everything going?”  This could start the communication!
  • Ask how their work is going. We may not know what is going on in their work world. And ask how successful they feel they are with their job performance.
  • Document conversations if it is warranted. This should only be used as a last resort before termination. There are so many options before going this route.

Here are a few key questions that you and the team member must be able to answer and your answers must be the same.

  • What are the objectives and performance indicators for their position?
  • Do they know they are responsible for the outcomes of the objectives and performance indicators?
  • Are they empowered to achieve the objectives and performance indicators?

The Big Picture

Your goal is to use communication to eliminate any possibility of unclear expectations while you are supporting and cultivating your team. Envision a 49% / 51% relationship where you provide slightly more value than what they provide. Being a leader for the team will position you in a much more rewarding place as opposed to the place where you are behind the team frustrated because you are putting out fires. With that leadership style you will build an organization, a business – your largest investment then feels less like work and more like a dream that you made come true.