Why you need to lose the brilliant jerks

I was chatting with a client recently about brilliant jerks in their business.

The business wasn’t growing and they were losing good people.  The crux of it was, a couple of team members that were in post due to delivering great results in previous roles, had a disruptive influence on their teams and those around them, causing stagnation.

They were what I call, brilliant jerks.

Those team members who are often very good at their job technically but they go about getting results the wrong way.

Perhaps they bypass operating processes.

Maybe they cut corners.

They often don’t care or know who they’ve upset, just to win.

A business rarely succeeds with brilliant jerks because two things happen:

  1. The disruption to the business and the team becomes too much
  2. The great people in the business are disillusioned that you’re putting up with the brilliant jerks and either down tools or leave

For a business to succeed, you have to have the team value aligned and pulling in the same direction.  Each member not pulling in the same direction gives you a double whammy – you lose a good one and gain a bad one.

You can teach skills but you cannot teach attitude. 

You have to hire based on attitude and train any technical deficiencies.  Don’t get seduced into hiring or putting up with a team member who can/ will deliver results but will be toxic within the team.

Short term results – yes. Long term pain – absolutely.

You have to hire and fire based on values and attitude.

All too often I speak with clients who have a problem with a team member.  They have spoken to them about the importance of value alignment and yet they are still disruptive.

Delaying the inevitable exit only prolongs the pain and the consequences.  It’s tough losing a team member but it’s even tougher in the long run keeping them.

Hire slowly, fire quickly.

Take your time to hire. Be diligent.  Look for red flags.  Ask better questions.  Undertake ‘the pub’ test.

Small business owners have to hire better and stop rushing the process.  Stop compromising on somebody you think will work when deep down, you expect they won’t.   You spot the red flags but choose to ignore them.  The gamble is too risky.

If a team member isn’t aligned and despite regular conversations and coaching support, they are not changing, it is probably time for them to move on.  It may seem painful but trust me, in three months it will be the best decision you have ever made.

This will free up time, headspace and salary to replace them with a better, more aligned team member that should, if you follow a better hiring process, deliver better long term results.

Here’s a link to a blog I wrote on this very topic in 2016 and very little has changed.

Do you have a high staff turnover?

Are you putting up with second best and making excuses for them?

Do you have team members who don’t seem to care as much as you do?

Perhaps it’s time to get clearer on your company values and understand the consequences of having team members that don’t align.

Every client we work with has a clear set of company values and understands how these are used to build a dream team.

Once the dream team is in place, the business owners we work with, work fewer hours and enjoy a better lifestyle.

You can’t do epic sh*t with basic people.  Is it time for a change?

To discuss current challenges in your business preventing your growth, book a complimentary 30 minute Discovery call.