Seth Godin has a great post today on ’Toxic Employees.’ Seth identifies such individuals as sharing two common characteristics:
1. They confuse “How can I help this prospect/customer?” with “How can I get rid of this person and get back to work?”
2. They confuse, “How can I have a better day by treating this person with a great deal of respect?” with “Why isn’t this person treating me with the respect I deserve?”
In related news, I recently acted on a really difficult decision fitting Seth’s description #2 to a tee. Having to look past friendship, I decided to end a work-relationship with someone we’d just nearly hired. The guy was extremely talented, but very hung-up on money, trying to nit-pick at every opportunity and clearly not wanting to engage the rest of the team, as evidenced by his not having contacted our lead engineer four days after I had requested a phone call be set up. Actually I had asked thrice and specifically stated, ’making sure you guys talk is very important to me.’Â�
Additionally this dood’s arrogance was over powering. The most talented people I have ever met are also the most humble ’â€œ when you are really good ’â€œ ’world class’ – you don’t feel the need to remind everyone at every opportunity. This guy constantly wanted to remind us how lucky WE were to be working with HIM. Not the best way to win over an employer.
Very quickly, this arrogance translated into a misappropriation of roles/hierarchies. I allowed him to talk down to other team members simply because I tried to convince myself that it was all part of his creative, ’wicked talented’ facade. Ultimately I could only fool myself for long and I realized my gut instincts had been right. He wasn’t someone I was willing to sacrifice my values to work with. Business is hard. People are harder.
Compromising values is never the right play in the long-run.