• As agencies grow, they will encounter ‘problem’ members of the team.
• What do you do in these situations? Jo White, leadership coach and partner and Team Sterka has encountered this all before.
• Come along and discuss your experiences with ‘toxic rockstars’ and ‘loveable incompetents’ – and let us know what has worked for you too.
“I met someone recently who was looking to improve themselves. They were incredibly good at their job, loved by clients and a top performer. But they were also known as the office nightmare, disliked to the point that no one wanted to work with them.”
“You just think, ‘Oh my god, what can that do to a business?’”
Jo White, leadership coach and partner at Team Sterka, has worked with her fair share of people like this – who she affectionately labels ‘toxic rockstars’ and ‘loveable incompetents’ who sit at the opposite end of the scale.
“In every agency I’ve ever worked in, once you get to a certain size, there will be someone you struggle with in your team,” she says.
“It’s generally someone who is either really good at their job but behaves badly, or someone who is a perfect fit culturally but underperforms technically. Making allowances and acceptances for these people can send a dangerous message to your team.”
Jo admits that in the past when faced with these kinds of people in her team, she hasn’t been quick enough to act.
“I had a team member who was just really difficult to work with,” she explains. “They weren’t outright rude but briefings would be challenging, review meetings were painful, but they would always deliver something absolutely amazing.”
“We excused their behaviour on the basis that they always delivered. However, when they left the business, the transformation that occurred in the team was unbelievable.”
How do you handle team members like this?
“It’s about being honest with yourself and that person about it. These are not bad people in any way, shape or form – they probably have the absolute best of intentions,” Jo says. “Perhaps you won’t be able to solve it, so you might have to make a difficult decision.”
“Finding that balance of people is quite difficult with different personalities and approaches, but if you leave these things to roll on, the impact on the rest of the business – and your credibility as a leader – can be compromised.”
Have you been in this position? Have you had to have these difficult conversations and make decisions on whether to keep these people in your team?
Come along and discuss your experiences with ‘toxic rockstars’ and ‘loveable incompetents’ – and let us know what has worked for you too.