One of the most important, yet most difficult, challenges a leader faces is disciplining or jettisoning a strong contributor who has a negative attitude. Although you want as many talented and performing individuals in your company or group as possible, ones with a negative attitude can cause more damage than add value. By negative attitude, I mean an individual who does not feel the company is well run and expresses their lack of confidence in management, and shows visible anger and pessimism about the success of the team or project.
A recent article on Forbes.com, “The Worst Thing Any Leader Can Do To High Performers” by Robert Sher, quotes Joe Montana, the former star NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Montana would say that whenever a fellow player exhibited problem behavior, he would be gone in a few months. What makes this point particularly poignant is that the 49ers had a fantastic string of success, even with high turnover of players. Montana also added that the worst thing a leader can do is “to do nothing.” The article goes on to point out that doing nothing drives peak performers crazy when bad teammates are allowed to stay. Continue reading