Here’s an idea…

“First get rid of all the arseholes in your organisation before trying to make everyone else happy and engaged in the workplace.”

This was a refreshingly practical, poignant, meaningful and inescapably challenging comment that Dr Paul Wong (internationally acclaimed researcher, professor and author on positive psychology) recently presented in a lecture to my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology cohort at the University of East London.

Can you imagine what it would be like to work for any organisation where repeatedly poor behaviour, displaying significant character flaws, was just left to continue? Sadly, this is a more common reality than it might at first seem… and is especially difficult when the person or persons displaying the repeatedly poor behaviour is the business owner or executive leaders.

Relaying what I’d heard the Professor say in the lecture to my youngest son Anthony, he laughed and said very cleverly “That’s called ‘Corporate Pest Control’ and it should be just like controlling for pests in your home, there should be at least an annual clear out of all the pests.”

Again, difficult however, if the main pest is the owner of the business or the leaders in the organisation.

One of the most obviously evident ways of assessing the level of pests in any business, is the lower levels of results being experienced across almost every measure of success within the organisation because of the impact that these ‘pests’ have on trust.

Remember, when trust is at risk… everything is at risk – and these pesky ‘A-holes’ with their bullying, aggressive, subversive, manipulative, coercive, and other character lacking behavioural displays, certainly put trust at risk.

And what if the pest is individually performing at a high level and achieving personally high results? I was asked this question recently at a Q&A during one of my masterclass programs on Building Intentional Trust Relationships. My response was to ask a return question “And what damage are the character flawed behaviour and actions of this high performer having on the rest of the team?” In other words, while high results are of course important, on balance, one high performer behaving ‘badly’ can have such a negative impact on the level of trust and motivation of other workers, that the culture of the organisation becomes at risk.

This is not an easy fix… but let’s not kid ourselves that it isn’t a worthwhile pursuit. To build an organisation of stature with a corporate culture to be proud of, and one where the organisation is thriving and the people within it are flourishing, means taking whatever action necessary to move that organisation closer to being pest free.

Warmly, David.

PS… don’t forget, I always welcome your feedback and if you’d like to have me present at your next conference on how to build more intentional trust relationships in leadership, sales, or customer service, or would like to explore how we can work together to boost your team’s success, call me at my Sydney office on 02 9546 2492.