Does you Company Reward the Wrong People?
Think of who brings in the sales in your company, you're probably rewarding them for their performance, but do they leave a wake of destruction behind them? Are others on their team threatening to quit, or actively interviewing elsewhere?
Do you have a tech genius that does everything behind the scenes but isn't people friendly and brings down the rest of the team? But they're good at what they do so you allow them to get away with it.
Everyone in the company knows what these people are like and the damage they're causing. But management allows them to get away with it because they're bringing in the desired results. But is it what you really want from your company?
Who are these people?
"The team is hitting their targets. The team can't stand the main person driving the sales, but they deliver." Does this sound familiar to you and your company? But apart from this person driving the sales, is overall performance dipping?
These amazing employees hit all the metrics expected of them but can hurt the company in the process. They generate results while leaving a wake of destruction in their path. Your teams may be disengaged, you may not have much morale within your teams and the main person responsible may be derailing the efforts of the others in the team. If this impact spreads through the business, they may ultimately bring the company to its knees. Yet, they're the top performers".
So, what's the problem if they're hitting targets? For one thing, these individuals often focus on maximising their own results at the expense of others on the team. They are only focused on the metrics you give them, and can forget that results cannot always be quantified in terms of immediate sales or customer satisfaction scores. While these measures are important, they aren't the be all and end all.
These individuals can leave a long-term impact which can be devastating to the company, especially if they are team leaders. Unfortunately, these people may have quickly risen through the ranks as they are able to hit the metrics they are given and hit performance targets. Their behaviour is reinforced with each promotion they receive.
Working with these people
To know if you have one of these people, look at 2 qualifiers: 1 - They hit or exceed their targets, 2 - they are hard or impossible to work with.
These people are often aware of their methods and the effect they're having. But they feel as though it's the only way they can get results. The company may feel as though it's hard to argue with them because of the results they achieve.
Not all is lost though, there are several ways you can help mitigate these effects.
1. Expand what you measure
Your company needs to understand that performance is more than operational results and hold employees accountable for how results are achieved.
The way in which results are achieved is just as important as the actual results. Of course, your business does need the short-term results, but these shouldn't be at the expense of the long-term gains. This can mean a shift in thinking, accountability, expectations, measurement and reward systems need to be addressed and changed. You may also need to clarify what is meant by performance and what you're expecting.
2. They need to know they're a problem
They need to know the effect their behaviour is having on others. This can be addressed by changing the evaluations are giving them and including behaviour, not just looking at performance. Managers also need to look at the engagement of the teams and should be accountable for creating an effective employee experience.
Any team feedback should be an integral part of a manager's performance evaluation and can help stop any managers leading their teams into despair.
3. Help them be who they are Just not with you
Help your managers know what to do when they encounter someone like this in the company, or hire an outside coach if it is the manager that's the problem. However, don't forget that some people can't (or won't) change. In this case, it may be best for your company if you moved them on to another job. It could be tempting to keep them for the short-term benefits, however, there is long-term damage being done to your company because of it.
You may be able to improve the situation with the proper support, but the individuals involved need to want to change while understanding why and exactly what needs adjusting about their behaviour.
Once you've dealt with the one person responsible, you need to make sure your company has changed its ethos enough so that you don't end up hiring another damaging person into the team.