How to Make Leadership Easier–Don’t Fix Others

(Part 1 of 7)

To workshop participants, I asked, “Do any of your high performing colleagues do things that irritate you?”

A participant quickly reported that he had a staff member who argued too much.  “Anytime I suggest something,” he said, “he tells me and everyone else what a bad idea it is.”

“How long has this been going on?”

“Since he joined my team, almost three years.”

“What are you doing about it?”

“I explain my position and tell him he needs to stop being so critical.” 

“How many times have you told him that?”

“Too many to count.”

You can bet, many—parents, teachers, family members, friends, managers– have also told this argumentative individual about his galling habit.   

By the time people begin careers, their core behaviors are reasonably hard wired; and your odds of fixing others’ persistent negative habits are about as good as winning the lottery. 

Should persons with annoying ways be new to your supervision, should you coach them once or twice on how to better respond?  Of course, but if your coaching has little effect, and it probably will, discontinue coaching.  It is not working.  

Learn to tolerate or terminate (don’t rehabilitate) high-performing employees with irritating behaviors.    

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