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Deal With Jerks For Team Success

Leaders, when defining jobs, should assign a percentage of time to the major accountabilities. This helps the incumbent know how to focus their time.

In an Inc. article, Yuriy Boykiv, CEO of the New York-based global advertising agency Gravity Media, breaks down his time as follows: 50% Psychologist, 25% Sales, 15% Finance and HR, and 10% Strategy. Really, 50% Psychologist?

It is important for leaders to understand how individual personalities impact team dynamics. No one disputes the power a team has over a bunch of individual contributors (we’ve all seen the Successories poster showing a team rowing the boat together with the sun in the background and TEAMWORK captioned below). However, a team’s effectiveness is greatly diminished when one of the team members is a jerk. Jack Welsh defines a jerk as someone who exceeds performance metrics but demonstrates poor behaviors. On teams, jerks disrupt team chemistry, are ostracized, and often create an over reaction by the other team members.

A leader needs to put on the psychologist hat when this disruption occurs. The leader needs to confront the jerk and the whole team on their behaviors. Failing to do so damages trust in the leader, stifles team motivation, minimizes core values, and saps energy.

Empowered leaders identify and deal with team jerks and have more success.


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