COMMENTARY: A Manager’s Dilemma: Dealing With Misbehaving Top Performers

Managers prove themselves to be leaders when they do what is right, even when it costs more than they want to pay, because they understand that the cost of losing credibility and moral authority outweighs the benefits of expedient compromise.

Just as the best athletes on a team often expect and get special treatment when it comes to violating rules or ethical norms, top performers in the business world often believe their productivity will shield them from discipline for such things as expense reporting fraud and sexual harassment. Sometimes, the “golden boys/girls” simply act like jerks at the expense of fellow workers.

How the company handles misbehaving top performers regarding decisions such as discipline and promotion will be well noted and create or destroy a manager’s reputation regarding integrity, fairness, consistency and courage.

It is easy to rationalize more lenient treatment of top producers because of the risk of taking a double hit: 1) losing the employee and the benefits he/she has been bringing and 2) the likelihood that the employee will go to work for a competitor, helping them and hurting you further.

Character is tested, revealed and strengthened on the battlefield of real life where decisions have serious consequences.

Managers prove themselves to be leaders when they do what is right, even when it costs more than they want to pay, because they understand that the cost of losing credibility and moral authority outweighs the benefits of expedient compromise.

The good news is that most top performers will behave if they are convinced that they have to.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts

Comments 2

  1. One of the best lessons of this concept that I ever learned came in my experience as a track and field coach. My top athlete, near the end of the season and in the middle of the workout, challenged what I was doing, why I was doing it, etc. in front of the whole team. I informed her that there was a reason for it, and she needed to get started or leave. She chose to leave, so I dropped her from the class and the team. Sadly, she was part of a relay team that was poised to break a school record, an opportunity that I thought was lost. Her replacement was a good friend of hers, who lacked confidence and who was being undermined repeatedly by the aforementioned top athlete. At the suggestion of a coach, I told the other members of the relay team what was going on, and let them handle it. Not only did they manage to boost this athlete’s confidence, but she did so well at league finals that they did, in fact, break that record. I have never forgotten the lesson that the team itself should never be sacrificed in favor of one athlete. Several years later, that top athlete had a conversation with a mutual friend in which she revealed the importance of that lesson to her. I like to think that she is a better person for it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *