Creative Leadership

Employees Who Win By Wearing Everyone Down

Is there a member of your team who just won’t let go? He or she has an idea and refuses to take no for an answer or consider other ideas? This isn’t a personality quirk – it’s a strategy. It may come from insecurity, being a control freak, or obsessiveness with detail – but whatever causes it, you can bet it’s being done on purpose. The question is, why?

It’s done because it simply wears down the opposition.  Constant arguing or “defending” their position; long, detailed emails “explaining” why their answer is the only one worth considering; or long phone messages schmoozing the boss – are just a few of the nasty arrows in their quiver.

Eventually, team members, and even the boss, get tired of hearing about it, and find it’s just easier to let him have his way.  They simply capitulate to the assault.  It’s tragic, because you’re allowing decisions to be led by the loudest and most obnoxious person in the room, not the smartest or most creative.

Leaders: Stop putting up with it.  Stop thinking, “Well, that’s just the way he is.” Stop hoping it will go away. It won’t change, and it’s undermining your leadership and destroying the morale of the rest of the team.

Have the courage to shut him down, move him, or fire him. It’s a significant block to your team’s progress.

Have any readers worked with a person like this?  What was the result?

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  1. This is another good one, Phil. By acquiescing to this type of intellectual extortion, the boss is telling the rest of the team that collaboration is not valued, that the loudest voice will win every point, and that, frankly, they are a coward. I run into fellow actor’s who use this strategy all the time. The only defense, if the director doesn’t step up, is to do the same thing they are: and that eats up a lot of everyone’s time.

  2. Leaders who aren’t comfortable with confrontation, those who are people pleasers, and those leaders who think they’ll never be able to replace that obnoxious person if they fire them (because they have one great talent), will allow this kind of person to continue to have their way. What’s even worse- when they’re also friends or family members of the boss, where favoritism and emotions play into the equation. It’s a no win situation. All employees shift into auto-pilot and recognize who REALLY rules the roost. A leader actually relinquishes his authority when they allow this kind of person this much power. Great article!

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