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The Organizational Destroyer
By Ray Silverstein

Does your company have an employee who is hard working, competent and loyal but who does not comply with policies, procedures or "bad-mouths" the organization?

If this sounds familiar, you have an "organization destroyer" working for you. These are people who on the surface glitter like a diamond but, if you look closer, have many flaws.

On the surface, destroyers look so good that we give them the extra chance and benefit of the doubt. But these people operate behind the scenes destroying morale, causing dissention and dividing teams with an "us against them" attitude.

Because they seem to be such good workers, we question how we can motivate them to stay on the right track. If only we could change them, they would be great employees and as we know, great employees are so hard to find nowadays. The truth is, no matter what we try, they never blossom but only wither on the vine.

Many managers feel they cannot discharge these people because they perform their jobs well. But the laws of physics apply here. Sir Isaac Newton stated, "To every action, there is always an equal reaction." The action in this situation is taking no action and leaving the destroyer in place. The reaction is a further deterioration of morale and employee attitude.

The manager may fear to make a change because the work may not get done. Amelia Earhart said, "Courage is the price life exacts for granting peace." It takes courage to remove a destroyer, but it is the price to create peace in the organization.

In PRO discussions, we find that those who remove destroyers from their organizations report that the company functions much better. The trade-off of improving total performance with a possible reduction of efficiency in one area was well worth the action.

Going to work should not be a destructive activity. Attitude in the workplace is a key ingredient to productivity, customer service and employee retention. It is obvious that when one views the whole organization instead of just a job, the destroyer must be discharged.

A key question is how to determine if a person is actually a destroyer or if he or she has legitimate concerns. It is incumbent for the manager to exercise "MBWA" (Management by Walking Around). This means keeping your eyes and ears open and listening to employee concerns and watching their actions and attitude. The judgement is subjective because it is based upon one's experience and observation. In short, act like the monkeys: see evil, hear evil, eliminate evil.

Lee Iacocca said, "There's a world of difference between a strong ego, which is essential, and a large ego, which can be destructive." A manager's role is to know the difference and to have the courage to take the necessary action.



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