Predatory Employees

February 12th, 2008 By Scott Savage Categories: Business
Although this topic has been troubling me for some time, I wasn’t going to blog it until I was prompted by an article on my favourite (and only) management blog. It references a another very
interesting article
regarding predatory employees. Basically these are the toxic employees in your workplace; the ones who portray themselves as highly competent, yet this perception is the result of fear and intimidation rather than any genuine ‘respect’.

The article also provides a list of bullet points which help you to identify these people. I would like to reaffirm some of them and add a few of my own:

  • Seriously and personally insulted if their competency was ever questioned
  • The creation of friendships in order to gain information and ‘votes’
  • An expectation that supervisors and co-workers understand and tolerate performance
    lapses, combined with an inability to give others the benefit of the doubt
  • Regular threats against other employees to prevent them speaking out, combined with
    an aggressive fear campaign if performance complaints ever reach management

There are plenty of explanations for this kind of behaviour in my opinion, for example:

  • A highly insecure personality
  • Poisoned from previous company culture experiences, especially where the companies
    were declining into liquidation/annihilation
  • Personal social issues, a fear and aggressive dismissal of rejection

Should other employees be exposed to this kind of poisoned attitude? No. What are the results if it is allowed to continue:

  • Other staff will be poisoned, no matter how thick skinned they are
  • Managers fear that action will generate larger consequences and are afraid of looking
    unsympathetic
  • Employers overlook misconduct and keep people on the job who are highly destructive
    to efficiency and morale, undermining their authority and effectiveness

So what are the solutions? Well I will again combine their points with some of my own:

  • Get them and the office to read a book like this one on Fish! It
    sounds stupid, but my employer got everyone to read it when the company attitude was terrible and it worked a treat
  • The problem needs to be SURFACED and DISCUSSED as early as possible with all parties
  • Team values need to be set forth and reinforced

Any comments would be great. I suspect that there are a lot of people out there with similar problem people.

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