Sep 19, 2008
Nothing hurts a company more than when management ignores or tolerates a Bad Apple in the organization. Such tolerance undermines organizational trust and morale and without those, the ability for your employees to work as a team is just plain harder. These Bad Apples also take the fun out of work.
Management should never underestimate the impact that one person can have on the entire team. An employee with an attitude or difficult personality can bring communications to a halt, make people tense, and ruin employee productivity. The presence of the Bad Apple can make teammates unhappy by his mere presence in a room or even by a phone call or e-mail received from him.
Company leaders must understand that Bad Apples hurt the organization more than they help. Many times this can be difficult especially if the Bad Apple is a high performer, but at the same time is arrogant, moody, demanding and just plain not fun to be around. You can also lose some of your Good Apples to your competition who become tired of dealing with the Bad Apple's behavior.
Management should not ignore the problem and hope that it will go away. It never will. The Bad Apple should be addressed directly and given the opportunity to correct their problem with their own solution. It is not your job to save the employee. It is your responsibility as a manager to address the behavior that you observe and not doing so only perpetuates it. It is the employee's responsibility to take control of his behavior.
If things do not improve and behavior does not change, it is time to take action. Make sure you consult with your human resource department or labor attorney to make sure you have properly documented the behavior and have counseled the employee on correcting it. If you let the person go, do not make up excuses of why he left. Take the opportunity to stress with you employees that bad behavior will not be tolerated and that all within the organization must work as a team.
Lastly, keep your fingers crossed that your Bad Apple ends up working for your competition!