Intuition, Science and Truth-Telling Form a Powerful Trio in the Workplace

This is about how to rid yourself of a toxic employee or boss.

Did you ever have an employee who scored high on those personality tests that determine if they would make a good fit for your organization?

How about sitting in an interview and ‘just knowing’ this is the absolutely, positively, right person for the job?

Or, you are being interviewed and enthralled by the possibility of working for this most amazing boss.

And then something happens…

There is a disconnect between what looked good on paper (and even in your heart and mind) and what is really happening day-to-day.

“What the heck happened?” you ask yourself.

The answer is, “Life happened.”

Another answer is, “Old, outdated memories happen.”

Here’s a quick story from one of my coaching clients that may help you begin to see behind the curtain of that first blush of “love this job, love this boss, love this employee” that turned sour.

Dede is smart.  She has a great way of putting sentences together to make a point.  She is a fast learner.

So, what went wrong?

What went wrong was Karen.

Karen is also smart.  She also has a great way of putting sentences together to make a point.  She, too, is a fast learner.

What went wrong was the combination of two women who were both determined to be the favorite.

What went wrong was the subtle in-fighting to be the top employee, the one everyone looked up to, the one everyone came to for advice, the one who was THE BEST.

What happens when there can only be one gold medal winner?

It can become ugly.

And it did.

You see, intuition was right.  Both were excellent choices; the personality tests were spot on.  Both had valid scores.

What can’t be measured is that invisible line between people called relationship.

These two were, as they say, oil and water.  And the fire they were ready to start, was pulling the team apart.

What to do?

That’s where truth-telling comes in.

That’s where mediation is necessary and coaching steps up to the plate.

It would be sad to lose one of these valued employees; however, their relationship was not working, given their fierce competition and constant in-fighting.

These women needed to get a handle on that invisible line between them.  They needed to observe, understand, and then transform the tension that was getting in the way of their productivity.  They needed to be gusty enough to tell the truth about their incessant need to be the top honcho.

You can’t really measure relationships by checking boxes.  You can’t really see clearly when your intuition is the guide for selecting an employee (or a boss).

What you can do is find a way to start an honest conversation about what you see and then begin the task of sorting out the causes behind their need to be the best at the expense of others.

Super achievers who learn to harness that need to be front and center all the time, can become creative collaborators.  It takes courage to start the conversation to help people dig down and find the underlying reasons why there is a need to push someone aside, just to be noticed.

That’s often the missing part of hiring, and also firing – not taking the time to open the truth-telling conversation, so that everyone can win and strive toward personal excellence.

Isn’t that better than needing to be the best?

Sylvia Lafair

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