Ep #116: High-Performing, Business-Destroying Monsters
Has your shining team member turned into a shiny team member? The terms are pretty similar, but the motivation of each is quite different. The ugly truth is that they can’t be rehabilitated. So, let’s talk about what to do when those high-performing types become business-destroying monsters.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- A shining team member is someone who is luminous and illuminates the entire team. When they shine, everybody else shines.
- A shiny team member is busy focusing on their own light. Their light doesn’t extend out to others. It actually does the opposite.
- A high-performing, business-destroying monster believes that they are untouchable. They are arrogant, demanding, entitled, privileged, noisy, and even in some cases, threatening.
- You feel that losing them in your business would be so catastrophic that you can’t see past it.
- Here’s how to handle those high-performing, business-destroying monsters.
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy, and whether you’re just getting started with building your team or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Well, hello and welcome to the podcast today. How are you? I’m a little feisty is probably the truth. Maybe we would call it spicy. So this should be an interesting one. If you saw the title, maybe you’re like, “Hmm, this should be fine,” or you’re like, “Dude, what’s going on?” So yeah, high-performing, business-destroying monsters. How about that? How about that for a label? I want to talk to you … this is on the heels of the podcast I did last week about the accountability quagmire. There’s certainly something going on in my life, my personal life, that I will talk a little bit more about that is influencing a lot of this, but it also just happens to coincide with a challenge that so many of my clients face and that is this quagmire, I guess, to overuse that word, of having a high-performer on your team, so somebody who really can deliver the goods, whatever it is. They’re really good with your clients. They make you a lot of money. They know everything about your business, right?
Like, they are the people, the keeper of the keys. Whatever that is, whoever that is, there’s a lot of you who have that person in your team, in your company and there’s a problem with these high-performers. The problem that happens is when the high-performer goes from being what I call a shining player … So a shining player is someone to me who is luminous and illuminates the entire team. When they shine, everybody else shines. They share their light. They are good for team spirit, for culture. They lift everybody up. Their presence is good for the entire team. I know you know what I’m talking about. There’s this energy they bring. They do know they’re good, but they’re not cocky. They’re not arrogant. They’re just good and they want everybody else to shine, too. So team members and employees who shine, brighten the team with their light.
Then there are shiny team members, and these are people who are busy polishing their own shine. They are busy focusing on their light and they do not brighten others. Their light does not extend out to others. It actually does the opposite. They are so over-focused on their shiny, that it dims the light of others. This is tricky as a leader because you have to be able to know the difference, and sometimes someone who shines turns into someone who’s shiny, and that’s probably the most tragic of all because maybe they were once such a great part of your business and now they’re not.
Here’s how we know who they are. We know they are the shiny, business-destroying, high-performing monster because they start to believe they are untouchable. They are arrogant, demanding, entitled, privileged. They are noisy, and even in some cases, threatening: “If you do that, this is what I’m going to do.” How I know you’re dealing with it as a client is because you come to me and you say, “I feel paralyzed. I feel handcuffed by this person. I feel held hostage by this person.” You feel losing them in your business would be so catastrophic that you can’t see past it. So then what you do, a lot of you, is you try and accommodate this monster. I know that people don’t do this on purpose, but I know that the interest is in saving the business. I do understand that, but I want you to write … Let’s just talk about, if this is you and you’re in it right now, I want you to see what’s going to happen because I have been at this for far too long and I will tell you, we don’t rehab high-performing, business-destroying monsters because once they know, once they know they can threaten you or intimidate you and it works, you’re done. Not only are you done with that person, because then they’ll just play that game with you, you also are done with the team because they see what you do.
You have to remember, when you sacrifice your morals, your ethics, your values, to keep someone on a team because you think without them the team will suffer, you’ll lose money, whatever, that one monster player may win, but the team is losing. It’s like that, you know that old expression, when you point a finger at someone you’ve got three pointing back at you. We’ve probably heard that before, and we tend to not focus on the three pointing back, we just focus on the one that’s pointing and that’s what I think about. When you’re overly focused on keeping one person happy in your company, you are actually creating unhappiness in a lot more people and it destroys the team. It destroys your culture. Eventually, this person’s going to leave you anyway. That’s the irony.
So what do you do? Here’s my advice. Listen to me. Let them go. The challenge, the discomfort, the poor results that you might have in your business are temporary. If this person is the one who runs the blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah in your company, you know what? You’ll figure it out. If this is the person who makes all the sales in your company, you know what? You’ll find another one. If this means you’re going to have to work an extra 10 or 12 hours a week in your business, you know what? You can do it and it’s temporary. It isn’t worth it. For leaders, it isn’t worth it. If you really want to step into that mantle of leadership and you want to own it, and you want to be that person, you have to demonstrate this courage. People want this leader y’all. They don’t want to work for the leader who tries to make everyone happy. That is a lie. We want to work for somebody who stands up for something. The leader who wants to make everyone happy ends up making no unhappy, including themselves.
So how do you do it? You let them go. First of all, everything I teach you, guys, if you’re a podcast listener, you know all this. If you’re in our program, this is what we work through also, right? Like you just have to set and clarify your expectations. You have to have clear values. You have to have clear job descriptions. We make them a re-offer. We tell them what we expect of them, both from their behavior and their results, and we tell them what will happen if they don’t deliver on either. A monster high-performer is not going to change. So they will show you this behavior again very quickly and then you let them and go, and then you pay them to leave. This is my belief system.
You pay them. How much does it take to get them gone? It’s worth it. It’s worth it. Every single one of my clients who has hired me, and that’s been our first order of business is that nightmare, long-term person who’s been here forever, I don’t know what I’d do without them, but I can’t work with them anymore. They know everything about my business. I feel really bad because I haven’t paid attention to what they do, and I’m afraid if they leave, I won’t know where anything is, and that person … Every single person who has hired me to help them with that person comes to the call after they’re gone and says, “I cannot believe how different it is around here without that person here. It’s like a breath of fresh air. It’s like a weight has been lifted. It’s like magic. Everybody is so much happier.” I have never had a client tell me, “Oh, that was a huge mistake, I wish I hadn’t done that.” Ever.
Is it hard? Yes. Does it take courage? Yes. But you know what? You work through this one, everything else will be easy from then on. But until you learn this, you will be held hostage. You will be prisoner to the demands of a monster, and I’m being dramatic on purpose because it feels that way. There really are people who do this, who use their privilege, their entitlement, their skill, their mastery, and they use it for abuse, and some of us get in the cross hairs of that. Be the leader who won’t put up with it. Model for everyone that, that is not okay. The more we do this as a collective, the less of them will exist. I know this to be true because I know what it’s like to work and be on a team where everyone shines and everyone lifts everybody up, and everyone is happy to be there. No one is the super special, shiny object. Even though they may perform better than everyone else, they shine, which means they fill others up with their light instead of being a vampire and sucking the light out of everybody else.
So I hope this is helpful. I hope you feel validated and heard because I know who you are and I know this is hard, and I also know there is a way through it and it really is usually four or five steps more that you haven’t taken and it’s done. It’s done. In my experience, leaders who move through these moments, they don’t do it again because you get better at recognizing the monsters before they become business-destroying gobbling up creatures. I’ll talk to you next week.
One more thing before you go: In a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of, and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.