I was reading a WSJ article ( ) on management (a mixed bag, to be sure) from a year ago online this morning, and it got me thinking about time and energy spent on stars versus bad apples.

"...negative interactions can pack a much bigger wallop than positive ones. The reason is simple: "Bad is stronger than good," as psychologist Roy Baumeister and his colleagues put it. The negative thoughts, feelings and performance they trigger in others are far larger and longer lasting than the positive responses generated by more constructive colleagues."

The article seems to imply that too much time is spent with star employees and not enough time in dealing with problem ones. This seems to contradict MT core advice. Though, to be fair, they do argue that the hiring process is the best and most important wall to keep out troublesome employees.

"It's crucial for leaders to screen out bad apples before they're hired—and if they do slip through the cracks, bosses must make every effort to reform or (if necessary) oust them."

I also thought the advice went a bit off the rails toward the end when suggesting that a hybrid star/destructive employee ought to be isolated or given special treatment to shield the remainder of the group -- seems like rewarding bad behavior. What are your thoughts on this issue from your experience?


tomjedrz's picture
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 The point of the article seems to be .. deal with the bad apples, don't ignore them. Most companies let them go way to long instead of getting rid of them.  And that is clearly in line with the MT program.  

Use the trinity. give correcting feedback about bad behavior or bad performance, and show them the door when the time has come.


dmb41carter36's picture

I've seen it first hand. The boss spends too much time with collegues who are struggling. Then all I need is a 30 second conversation with approval to proceed. I have to wait, and wait, and wait. Demotivating to say the least.

SteveAnderson's picture
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The article seems to suggest that bosses spend too much time with "superstars" vs. "bad apples."  Some of the comments here suggest that the inverse has been their experience.  I've certainly seen it both ways - and from both sides of the fence as a "bad apple" that became a top performer because of the right boss.  I think the takeaway from all this is that all employees are equal when it comes to applying the The Trinity.  Everyone gets One on Ones, Feedback, Coaching, and Delegation, regardless of their performance level or attitude.


gpeden's picture

I can relate Andy.  

As a recovering "high performing jerk" my earlier bosses didn't do me any favors with 'top performer' reviews year after year.  I believed it - and I had a huge blind spot - and my first 360 was brutal, humbling, embarrassing, etc. and it is a long hard process to mend fences and change my behavior.  I commited in my 'delta' file to never do this as a manager.  

The gift of adjusting feedback is awareness - as managers we can help our directs break through their 'background of obviousness' and be self aware.  I have had directs say "Oh my god! I had no idea I did that.  I'll stop! ".  And that was the end of it - nipped in the bud before it become as a career limiter.  Those that won't change are managed out before they can tear the team down.



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