Why You Don’t Need Everybody On Your Team


I was talking to a dear friend of mine last week, the head of an organization, who was mired in a personnel dilemma. He had a key member of the staff who had caused division amongst the other team members and alienated virtually all of them.

This person was frustrated at the environment and their anger started to show outwardly. (Needless to say they didn’t see that any of it was their own doing.) They went to my friend and demanded that he fix the atmosphere or else find them a way out. He was flummoxed.

In counselling with another colleague of his who ran a similar organization, his friend had the same issues a number of times. His advice: “You don’t need everyone. You just want the ones who are willing to stay, grow, and contribute to the mission.”

What my friend realized is a key attitude towards solving a challenge common to many leaders. He, and the organization, were starting to be held hostage by this individual, and the disruption was becoming very toxic. Just a few months before, a similar situation happened to him from a key leader who had worked closely in building this organization. He now realized that, for the good of the mission, this person needed to be heard in their second wish (in part) and be helped to leave the organization altogether.

Jim Collins in his work Good To Great used the term “On the bus or off the bus” for people who would not adhere to the values and/or mission of the organization. These folks become drag factors, taint the internal culture, and soon leverage their unhappiness or discontent to their whims and agendas.

Many leaders get trapped thinking that they need to retain everybody, or do whatever it takes to keep their staff happy. Aside from survey scores and retention numbers, this mindset will hold a leader hostage to the attitudes of those who won’t play ball. A leader’s role is to create an environment for productive, meaningful work and working relationships, and set their people of for success and commitment. Happiness is the responsibility of the individual to respond favorably to these initiatives.

People choose, whether in paid or volunteer positions, to be a part of an organization. But the company also chooses to select them to be on board as well. It’s a two-way street. That doesn’t mean the person alone gets to choose the terms and conditions of their environment.

A former mentor of mine once said, “It’s better to be short a person than to keep the wrong person on your team.” Sometimes a little pruning of the team will bring forth better, more productive growth.

Every leader wants talented, passionate people to work for them. But what they all don’t want are people who become a cancer and sour the culture, risking the engagement and devotion of the other staff members.

You don’t want everyone on your team….

You want everyone on your team to be willing to commit themselves to the greater good of the organization.

A word of caution: This attitude is not a blanket statement, used to conveniently dismiss those who disagree or don’t fit a certain work profile. As long as those who are respectful and willing to stay and work towards the mission, everything must be done in the leader’s power to keep them retained and engaged. It’s when the individual is no longer willing to respond to your support or behave within the core values that they are no longer of value to the team.

(image: business.lovetoknow.com)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on March.10.2015, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dan Black on Leadership

    Great thoughts, we need to discern who should stay on our team and who should go. It’s sometimes a difficult thing for a leader to do but is needed if we want to move toward building something of success.


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