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Building Culture – Bad Apples

One of the most difficult things to do, when driving for a hard performing culture, is to come to the realization that a person’s style can be so destructive, as to be toxic to the culture and mission of the company.

Toxic Person

How many times have we seen someone’s attitude and approach create a toxic environment? 
Bad apples on the team don’t just impact that individual’s ability to collaborate, perform their job, lead their team.
The truth is, bad apples destroy the team’s ability to work together, to work with trust, to deliver a common front.
Unity of purpose is a cultural cornerstone of a team, and one bad apple can create an collaborative environment – death knell for performance.

As leaders, we need to step up with leadership.

When an individual on a team has a style that is destructive, and when they have proven not to want to change, we have to remove them.
For the benefit of the team, the organization.
And yet, while we intrinsically know this as leaders, we find it hard to execute on that.  We find reasons to accept the behavior.
Their tenure in the company, the fact that they have expertise and domain knowledge that is valuable.
Bit the bottom line is, when an individual’s behavior is toxic, no reasons matter.
Is removing the bad apple a difficult decision? Yes. Is it the right decision? Double yes.
We know this, but often we kick the can ahead of us, telling ourselves that the individual can improve, can change.  
But if they have proven time and time again that they are unwilling to change their behavior, there is only one course of action…remove the bad apple before they creates an unfixable rot.
If you are serious about creating a strong culture, you have to do this, or your culture message is just words and not action.  
Your organization will not believe.  Good people will leave. Others will feel that this behaviour is acceptable, endorsed by you!
Personally in my career, and with my clients, I see over and over again, that making these hard choices creates more benefit than we can imagine.  
We deliver a strong message that culture matters, that a respectful, well-functioning team is more productive.  
In fact, removing a toxic team-member and replacing them with an individual that is in synch with what we are trying to achieve, creates tremendous accretive value.  
You are in essence getting double productivity.
It is difficult, but necessary.  And while the short-term impact of replacing such an individual and leaving a hole in the organization may seem daunting, your strong team-members will thank you.  
Trust me, they see it and want you to remove the rot.
Hans HicklerBuilding Culture – Bad Apples