There are hundreds of articles and advice columns dedicated to managing difficult employees, but what exactly should you do when that difficult person is your star player?
“Most business owners have encountered one of the most troublesome types of employee, the t ype I call the ‘ highperforming bad apple,’ says management consultant and author John Treace. “These are individuals who typically do great work ‒ they’re sharp, knowledgeable, and inf luence others ‒ but have a pervasive bad attitude, challenge company policy or authority, and constantly grouse about work.”
Difficult star employees, like Vettel in this situation, can throw you into a catch-22 dilemma because of the value they add to your institution. Most managers get sidelined by this, and fail to create a balance between rewarding that individual’s performance and nurturing the best interests of the team. Top performers t ypically develop a feeling of immunity when they’re given a level of specia l t reatment and a re not held accountable when they mess up.
Similarly, quieter co-workers will be made to feel undervalued if a manager is not observant enough to recognise the issue without it being pointed out to that person. Regardless of your feelings towards your top employee, if he/she is disrupting team morale and causing uneasiness within the group, it is important to address the problem immediately a nd openly, a nd i f t he i s s ue persists, start to think about whether you really need that particular individual in order to maintain success. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem.
“Every successful coach knows that a team of stars is not a team unless some of those stars are willing to channel their formidable talents to team rather than individual excellence,” says John Baldoni in the Harvard Business Review. “Having a team of especially talented people may be a manager’s gift ‒ but unless he/she can harness the individuals to work collectively, it ’s a wasted gift.”