By: Maurice Gilbert
We love our star performers, but not all talent can be top talent; in fact, a pretty large percentage of employees fall somewhere in the middle, those who earn their keep and advance the company’s objectives more often than not. It’s that bottom-most quadrant of workers that are trouble, though. The ones who not only don’t do your firm a whole lot of good, but may actually be a detriment.
Our suggestion: don’t wait for these problem employees to show their colors. Amp up your assessment process to make sure you don’t bring them on board in the first place. Fred Mouawad, CEO of management platform Taskworld, has identified top six kinds of employees you ought to avoid:
- The Tattletale: We’re all for maintaining a culture of ethics and compliance around here, and when the situation calls for it, a whistleblower may be exactly what the company needs. However, if you’ve got a team member on staff who is quick to point out others’ failings or to complain about their colleagues. A tendency to bellyache or shift blame can be simple enough to pick up on in an interview, if you’re listening carefully.
- The Baby: Beware of candidates who seem adept at finding problems, but struggle to offer solutions. This brand of candidate isn’t unlike the Tattletale, only there may be more whining involved. The Baby can be a real demotivating force around the office. You want contributors, problem solvers, do-ers.
- The “Yes” Man: If every idea or change is brilliant in this person’s eyes, you’ll wonder sooner or later whether he or she is offering honest feedback. Successful leaders surround themselves with people who won’t just tell them what they want to hear. Thriving businesses are the same; differences of opinion, even minor conflict, can be healthy.
- The Killjoy: There’s caution and then there’s naysaying. Killjoys can find the flaw in every change or suggestion, and their negative energy is contagious. In fact, negative energy tends to be more infectious than positive energy.
- The Know-It-All: We are probably all familiar with someone like this, someone who can’t or won’t consider others’ ideas, since they’ve already got the best answer. Apart from just being a bother, these employees can be dangerous because they likely arrive at conclusions too quickly, not having put forth enough time or research to weigh additional options.
- The Immovable Object: When there’s a problematic behavior or habit in question and the employee won’t make a change, it may be time for a parting of ways. The most successful employees are the ones who can adapt. Stagnant businesses are made up of stagnant people, but the organizations that remain competitive are the ones that also remain flexible to meet changing needs in a changing marketplace.
Maurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.