I am sure I am not the only senior manager to discover that a member of their team is telling colleagues in partner agencies that they don’t agree with the approach the team is taking and don’t think you are effective in dealing with poor performance. Such behaviour is disloyal, disrespectful and a betrayal of trust.
The talented individual can be a mixed blessing. When they are the focus of admiration and everything is going well then they are forgiven a lot because of their ability to deliver, but when things are going wrong their constant criticism of those less gifted and less committed can be very destructive. It is even worse when they take their disparaging comments and snide remarks outside of the team.
In the work situation your most talented member of the team can start playing up if they think their skills and abilities aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Not only did they think they should have been on the high profile working group they were rather hoping/expecting to be chairing it but being overlooked displeases them and they are only too willing to tell anyone who will listen why they would have done a better job than those selected.
When someone has to drop out you decide to replace them with the over confident, opinionated and occasionally abrasive but very talented colleague. This upsets group members who by now are aware of their colleague’s assessment of their skills and abilities. Having been invited to join the group this individual “respectfully “ declines on the grounds that he doesn’t think that he can rescue the situation at this late stage and doesn’t want to be associated with the failure.
As a manager you have to decide whether the individual’s talents and value to the team are such that you are prepared to put up with their ego and disloyalty. We all know where Sir Alex Ferguson stands on this but not all of us are in as strong a position. In the end, it’s ego or you go.
Blair McPherson author of Equipping managers for an uncertain future and UnLearning management both published by Russell House www.blairmcpherson.co.uk