At some point in time, we’ve all had a coworker whose abrasive style or undercutting actions makes the workplace miserable and treacherous. In fact, one disaffected employee can poison an entire team’s culture and cost the company extra dollars. And, according to a study from Harvard Business School, removing a toxic team member delivers twice as much value to a company than even hiring a top performer.
It would be nice, if everyone was just motivated to do their jobs. However, the reality is that even a paycheck isn’t always enough motivation. But the good news is that there are truly simple techniques that can result in a more inspired team. Here are some ideas on how to get started:
Being the boss is hard.
Being the boss when someone on your team is trying to undermine you can be paralyzing. If you don’t fix the situation –and fast!– you might not be the boss much longer.
First, don’t even think of confronting the insubordinate subordinate until you have a clear-eyed understanding of the power balance. Instead, you need to know what you’re up against. Why is this team member attempting a coup? Which of you has the better relationship and reputation with senior management? Has the insurgent recruited other engineers to his side?
From the Apollo moon landing to the planned mission to Mars, NASA is a standout when it comes to innovative leadership. The space agency has been successful in most of its endeavors despite frequent and sometimes bone-deep cuts to their operating budgets. So why not take the lead from NASA when your own engineering department is looking at substantial cutbacks?