Managing Misbehaving Employees

We all have them.  They create anxiety and stress for us, undermine company strategy and employee morale.  Here are some good insights on what to do about it.


Situations won’t just disappear because you wish they would. 

You and your leaders have to address issues. And how you do this sets the tone for your company environment.

You won’t have the privilege of being the teams BFF (best friend forever). But you can have their respect and be surrounded by a productive and effective group that moves your company forward — and that’s good for business.

Instead of rewarding bad behavior with your silence, here are three decisive moves to help protect and restore your standards and the teams focus….More at Don’t Reward Bad Behavior – How To Address Challenging Team

Stars, Potentials, Zombies and Vampires

Every business has them.  But when you have an employee who is a top producer that undermines your business and culture can you really afford to keep them.  I call it “The Tyranny of The Ten Call Man”.  This writer calls them Vampires.  Either way, if you want to succeed in the long term they need to find their future elsewhere.


Our company, Axcess Worldwide, was shaped in its early years by a small, tight knit group: my partner, Kirk Posmatur, and me and our first few employees. Now, after significant growth, we were honing our strategy, placing the right people in the right roles, continuing to deliver profitability while simultaneously maintaining a strong and meaningful corporate culture, something we consider to be one of our most powerful assets.

The new executive we were discussing that day was doing what we had hired him to: immediately deliver results. But he was doing so in a manner that didn’t strike us as consistent with our culture; he was focused so intensely on “what he did” that he paid little attention to “how he did it,” which resulted in consistently dismissing the opinions of others and pursuing what we felt was a strategy of “winning at any cost.”…More at When to Fire a Top Performer Who Hurts Your Company Culture

Leadership Lessons From Softball

We have all heard about having the right people in the right seats on the bus.  Here is a great video on that topic using Softball as an illustration:

One thing the best leaders do is make their employees aware of how important their jobs are to the mission and vision of the team, of the organization, and hopefully society as a whole. The more leaders can draw a line-of-sight to how their employees’ contributions matter to the organization and society, the better.  View the Video at:  Leadership Lessons from the Softball Field

What If Your Staff Were High School Teenagers


Maybe you sometimes feel like you are managing children…or sometimes you feel like your manager is treating you like a child.  But like the show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” there are lessons to be learned by thinking out of context as this article so simply and elegantly illustrates.

Your team also gets edited and adjusted. Every person that looks great on paper isn’t always a match for your company. That’s what the interview, testing and trial periods are about — finding the best fit given the environment. But what about us?

How Often Do We Edit Ourselves?

There’s a difference between protecting our personal style and the type of communication that breaks teams down.  On Top Chef Masters, the reality cooking series on Bravo TV, one of the contestants, Chris Cosentino, said:

“Communication is the backbone of a restaurant.”

The same is true for any business. The ability to educate our team is directly related to how we talk to them. It’s a deal maker….More at The Deal Maker In Every Business: Are You Ignoring It? | Small

Why Taking Care of Yourself is Essential In Leadership

My father was a british citizen before World War II but served in the US Army.  He shared with me a lot of insights into the differences between how the two armies functioned…British and American.  I always thought the Officer practice of having a “batman” was archaic and elitist until I understood why this practice was adopted by battlewise American officers who picked it up from their British counterparts.

A lot is written about leadership and its responsibility, in military terms, for those they lead, the mission and so on.  Little is said about a leader’s responsibility for him or herself.  This article makes some excellent points.

What it doesn’t say I would add:  Leaders have a responsibility to keep themselves fresh relative to new ideas and concepts.  A practice I adopted a couple of decades ago from a cemeterian friend that has helped me tremendously is treating myself at least every other year to a non-industry seminar or convention.  The exposure to outside thinking is both refreshing and insightful.  I recommend it.

“We must always accomplish the mission – it is why we are here. And while doing the mission, we must care for our soldiers – before the mission to make sure they are ready, during the mission to make sure their head is in the game, and following the mission to make sure they are cared for and prepared for what comes next. What we often fail to do is take care of ourselves as leaders. After leaders have met the first two requirements, we must take care of ourselves. If we do not take care of ourselves by sleeping right, eating right, and even talking with others about our experience…well (here he hesitated and then looked at the ground slowly) then we become casualties. Then everyone has to take care of us and that detracts from our soldier’s readiness and mission accomplishment.” Read More: Cool Leadership in a Hot Place Posted on October 1, 2012 by Clemson Turregano

Change: Or Just How Much Do You Enjoy Pushing Strings Uphill

Everyone loves change…as long as it is happening to someone else.  The moment it’s about me everything changes.  In this article we learn about the:

Ten Reasons People Resist Change

Leadership is about change, but what is a leader to do when faced with ubiquitous resistance? Resistance to change manifests itself in many ways, from foot-dragging and inertia to petty sabotage to outright rebellions. The best tool for leaders of change is to understand the predictable, universal sources of resistance in each situation and then strategize around them. Here are the ten I’ve found to be the most common.…More at Ten Reasons People Resist Change – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Things You Learn From Great Bosses

Here’s some great insight from the employee’s side on true people development which is a hallmark of a REAL leader.

My first boss at Bell Labs had a habit of yelling. While he was an equal-opportunity yeller, when he shouted at me in my first department meeting, I got up, told him when he wanted to talk, not yell, I’d be in my office and walked out. I was 20 years old, just out of undergrad, and sitting among a group of aghast Ph.D.’s . Perhaps this was not the best initial career move. But about 30 minutes later, he walked into my office and apologized. He never yelled at me again (though he did keep yelling at the rest of the team), and became one of three manager-mentors that shaped my career at Bell Labs and AT&T — and taught me to manage others and myself. I’ll share one story from each boss and the lesson I learned from each….More at Four Lessons From the Best Bosses I Ever Had – Deborah Mills

What I would do:

To quote Warren Buffet’s partner, Charlie Munger: “I have nothing to add.”

Do You Need An Oil Change?

Business relationships can be tricky.  Maybe because of that they are most often left unmanaged and neglected. Here is an effective way to make them better.

It’s tragic to see this death spiral of relationships happen. A person gets mad, but doesn’t express it. The anger sinks into them and festers. A narrative takes shape in his mind that the other person is bad, mean, intolerant, egocentric, and that their energy is negative. This narrative finds more evidence, and soon the weight of it is overwhelming. In the mind of the person who doesn’t communicate in real time, the other is tried, found guilty and convicted — sentence is then passed, all without the other knowing anything is going on. She is bad and should never be trusted, and it’s best to warn others. And since narratives love to find even more evidence, gossip sets in. The other is now tried and convicted within a family or work group.  To read more

What I would do:

Buried in this article is an interesting link to “oil change”.  Click on it and follow the five points.  It can’t hurt and will probably help.

Are You A Dictator Or Incompetent

Are you perceived as a dictator or incompetent?  This Interesting blog post from Columbia Business School Tells us how to know.

Through the three studies, Iyengar and Chua found that striking a balance is key: more decision-making power for employees increased perceived leadership effectiveness and agreeableness of managers, but too much freedom caused managers’ images as effective leaders to suffer because they were perceived as being less conscientious….More at Columbia Ideas at Work : Feature : Tiptoeing+Toward+Freedom

Your Employees: An Untapped Resource

Perhaps the single strongest reason I have been harping on leadership over supervision is the damage the latter does to “knowledge” workers.  and funeral directors are knowledge workers.  The “Carrot and Stick” approach that most if not all of the manufacturing style monitoring systems now being deployed will ultimately be counterproductive IF it is not led be good leaders.  And, Frankly, there are precious few positive leadership models in funeral service.

Remember, Passive Aggressive cultures are defined by behaviors that thwart progress “But in the nicest way”.  So, just because your team may like working together does not necessarily mean it is functioning at peak performance.

the costs of under-utilized employees are far deeper than just the waste of payroll dollars. People who are underutilized by their managers described their experience as “frustrating” and “exhausting.” Inevitably, the most talented employees quit, leaving you with an expensive turnover problem. The less confident staff often “quit-and-stay” leaving you with a more destructive moral problem as disillusioned employees infect the culture.

Smart executives understand that the cheapest way to fuel growth is to first tap deeply into the resources they already have. Stretching and engaging your existing talent is also the highest-octane fuel source, as people who are deeply utilized describe the experience as “a bit exhausting but totally exhilarating.”…More at Smart Leaders Get More Out of the Employees They Have – Liz – Blogs