Like barnacles corroding a ship, these people appear like benign growths on the edge of your organization, not really adding but not really taking away, either. The truth is, they’ll actively sink your boat in the water.
Think of them as the 5 A’s:
- Abusive: Usually covertly, subtly, and implicitly rather than explicitly, these people shrink and shred the self-worth of those they supervise, work with and work for, alike. They’re not just “crabby,” they’re downright sadistic and they get an orgasmic thrill from making other people feel like s**t. Delete them from your organization at once, and watch the morale of everybody else go up immediately and drastically. Nobody wants to work with, around or for a soul-murdering pig, much less build a brand with them. Fire them ASAP and you’ll literally hear the sounds of cheering in the hallways. Or the bathrooms. Or both.
- Angry: Some people are just always in a fury. It takes almost nothing, or even nothing, to set them off. The guy in front of them cut them off on the freeway driving to work, the cashier overcharged at Whole Foods, the state of Russia-U.S. relations, the candidate they don’t like who will “ruin the country,” even a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoe “because somebody else was too rude to pick it up when they left the bathroom.” Everything gets them hopping mad. No matter how seemingly brilliant or productive they are, hit the “delete” key when it comes to payroll. Brands are above all a figment of the imagination, and imagination cannot coexist with toxic rage.
- Adamant: “You’re right!” That’s the only answer where these employees are concerned. They know more, they’ve been there, they’ve got it all figured out, and you are clueless. Don’t get into it with them, because it’s an argument their entire self-esteem depends on. A brand requires evolution and adaptability in order to survive. Don’t bother.
- Apathetic: These people have just been in the organization for too long, or they’re just in it for the money, and it’s all the same to them. “Whatever, I don’t care, as long as I get paid,” is how they live their work lives, and they’re not ashamed to admit it. While it’s true that a thick skin is required to survive the frequent irrationality of any work environment, it is also true that a brand-building employee never loses hope. In challenging economic times, you cannot afford to have these people dragging you down.
- Ass-Kissers: This can be a tough one. After all, the sycophant seems like they’re doing the brand a favor by being supportive. But people know the difference between sincerity and a fake, normally back-stabbing career-climber. These individuals are really treacherous, even treasonous to the brand, not treasures at all. This is so because they will sell you, and your mother, and all that your mother holds dear, to the very highest bidder, even if it means taking the walls down with the transaction. It might hurt your ego a little bit to admit that you’ve hired badly, especially when the person likely presents so well. At the same time it’s a cruel world and the competition is unforgiving. So you must be both discerning and determined in your actions.
So if someone isn’t doing your equity justice, you have a duty to everyone else.
Get rid of them.
All opinions are the author’s own. Photo credit: John-Paul Verkamp via Flickr (Creative Commons).