My last post provided clarity about the difference between “adversity” and “adversary”. Now, I want to dig into how to defeat the internal adversary in your organization.
Who IS this interloper?
The internal adversary is a sly individual. It could be the person who shows up with muffins every Monday morning. Maybe it’s the person who arrives early and works late. The threat could very well be the busiest person on your sales team.
These people seem harmless, right? THAT’s what makes them dangerous! You’re lulled into believing that they are benevolent beings. Believe me, this is all a facade.
Your internal adversaries are the team members who are faking it. They seem to be doing their jobs, but it’s an illusion. They’re not following up, they fail to qualify leads, and they consistently miss sales opportunities. As a result, they’re yanking on your group’s success. Other team members who are actually performing at a high level pick up the slack. That effort takes away from their own responsibilities, compromising their efficiency and the team’s results.
These rising stars and superstars see that you tolerate sloth from your underachievers. What does that say about your leadership and this organization? Often, your top talent becomes disillusioned with the lack of leadership and moves on to a company that presents a more motivating environment.
Take a walk
Tom Peters created the concept of Management By Walking Around (MBWA). This management tool is designed to give you greater insight into the daily activity of your team and its members. MBWA dictates that you communicate directly with your people. Break down the barrier that prevents them from coming to you for help or guidance. Don’t wait for them to ask for help, but proactively approach them in a conversational way.
Think of it like a doctor doing rounds in the hospital at the start of each shift. This is an opportunity to check in with the clinical team and the patients. You are updated on any changes from the previous rounds so you’re better informed.
Imagine you’re in the habit of doing this daily check-in. A new home sales professional on your team mentions an interaction with a hesitant buyer. You talk about ways to overcome the objections. The next day, you find out about progress on that potential sale. Without having such conversations on a regular basis, this salesperson might have failed to convert the sale. And whatever behaviors led to the lost sale would continue to occur. So, MBWA can prevent a potential star from becoming an adversary in your organization.
MBWA requires that you emerge from your office and connect with your team. You also welcome them into your inner sanctum so they become comfortable there, rather than ill at ease. With comfort comes confidence. They will begin to share their concerns. You’ll learn about problems in the workplace, like the person who is unreliable, ineffective, unprofessional, or all of the above.
You’re a leader. That comes with the responsibilities of making tough decisions. Sometimes it’s not whom you bring on, but whom you let go. When you allow adversaries to remain on your team, you’re actually encouraging a toxic environment. One adversary infects a team member with bad behaviors. From wasting time to weak sales techniques, adversarial habits take their toll on the entire team.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Protect the strength of your team. Get out of your chair and start walking around.