Loved this from Inc Magazine. Do you have these ‘toxic workers’ in your company killing productivity?
1. The Chameleon
In the animal kingdom, the Chameleon changes color in order to escape notice. In the business world, the chameleon changes roles in order avoid work. He volunteers for (or gets himself assigned to) multiple teams and working groups. He then uses that fact to justify never taking an action item within any of the teams because he’s “stressed to the max” due to the “huge workload” that he’s taken on…in other meetings.
When salary review comes, the Chameleon claims credit for “helping” all those teams achieve their goals. The best way to deal with a Chameleon is to assign specific projects that require the Chameleon to work solo and have ambitious deadlines. Use surprise “status update” meetings, to prevent the Chameleon from getting other people to do the work.
2. The Ornament
In the day-to-day world, an ornament, of course, is something you put on a Christmas tree or car hood. In business, Ornaments are people who get by on their looks rather than on their contribution. There are two types: Female Ornaments tend to be model-esque, in a “Victoria’s Secret” way. Men are so fascinated by the Ornament’s appearance that she can get them do to anything she wants. (There was a Seinfeld episode about this phenomenon.)
Male Ornaments have the tall, square-jawed, perfect-hair, perfect-suit appearance that immediately identifies them as authoritative and business-like. (Think Mitt Romney, but without the high IQ.) If you can’t fire an Ornament, put him or her in a “face the public” job where good looks are actually an asset to the company. For example, both the female and male Ornaments mentioned above were quite effective as “demo dollies” at trade shows.
3. The Ball and Chain
In history, a ball and chain was a weight clamped around a prisoner’s leg so that he couldn’t run fast enough to escape. In business, a Ball and Chain is a person inside an organization whose job is to ensure that the company never takes risks, a.k.a. a corporate lawyer.
When asked whether or not the company should try something new, a corporate lawyer will always say no, because if things go right, the lawyer gets no credit, but if things go wrong, the lawyer gets blamed.
Corporate lawyers are also adept at creating legal red tape, ostensibly to lessen risk, but also to strengthen their stranglehold over the organization. If left unchecked, they can gum up the works so that it becomes impossible to do anything at all.