Beware the ‘Protected Species’

Have you ever found your thoughts being consumed by one particular team member?

They have a track record of delivering for the business, in fact, they’re loved and respected by customers and others outside your team.  But to the team, they’re toxic.

People in your team have already left, and there are others on their way.

But what is the right course of action? If you deal with their toxic behaviour they may stop delivering (or leave) and then the customers who love them will complain. While the idea of dealing with the situation feels incredibly intimidating, if you don’t you may lose other valued members of your team.

“They” are the ‘Protected Species’ and they’re damaging.  They are damaging your team, your reputation, and probably your well-being. And, what’s worse, they’re almost certainly dictating their own agenda. 


Who are the ‘Protected Species’?

The ‘Protected Species’ were first identified by Jack Welch, who highlighted four types of team members and their associated challenges:

While there are challenges managing all these types, none are more difficult than the Protected Species – which is why they’re so often left to wreak their trail of destruction.


Insider Tips

Here are My Personal Tactician’s tips for dealing with your own Protected Species:

  1. Clarify what behaviours are and are not acceptable – link these back to your values and communicate them clearly to ensure everyone in your business understands that how they deliver is as important what they deliver. Make sure you role model the behaviours yourself and team members are willing to hold each other accountable!
  2. Be clear about the consequences of continued behaviour that goes against the communicated expectations.
  3. Review each team member’s behaviour against these behavioural expectations through regular conversations. Behavioural diagnostics can also be used as a source of independent feedback and to help individuals understand the impact of their behaviour on others.
  4. Work with each team member to develop a plan to support any desired change in their behaviour. Follow through on actions and commitments!
  5. Move to formal performance management if unacceptable behaviour continues – your HR team can help guide you through this process.
  6. Meet with key stakeholders and explain what you’re doing and why. Ask them to support you in keeping your team accountable.

Following these steps will make sure your protected species know that they are protected no more!

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