Today I answer the question, how do you deal with team members undermining your leadership.

First I’m going to help you out with what is the very first step to take. Next I’m going to share some lessons from General Electric’s old CEO, Jack Welch, regarding bad teammates. Lastly, I’m going to give you an interesting and different perspective on how to change others.

What is the first step to take?

The first step to take if you’re feeling like there’s team members undermining your leadership, is don’t assume. Find out. A lot of times we humans are meaning making machines. Someone will shoot you a glance and you will make it mean something. Our brain is so powerful and so amazing and it will create meaning out of something that may not be accurate. Maybe you were running a meeting and you saw one team member shoot a glance at another and you thought it was about you, but it’s actually about last night when they were out partying. You don’t know. Don’t assume. Don’t assume that you know what’s going on unless you actually have proof or you’ve verified. Don’t assume, instead verify. Ask the direct questions. Say, “hey, you know that plan that I talked about earlier? I saw you shoot a glance to Jack, does that mean you don’t like the plan?” Find out. Don’t assume.

I’ll give you an example of this that is kind of funny. So my mom, my wife and I, we used to go to this type of church, Center for Spiritual Living. I started getting booked on the road a lot and started traveling a lot and I was going around speaking, Vegas, Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, LA, 22 days a month. I just got really busy really fast and I stopped going. My mom she calls me and she leaves me this voicemail and she says, “listen Ray, I don’t know what they said to you or did to you but just know that you are a good person and whatever they they said to you to make you not want to go to church, it’s not cool.” I let her know that’s not the case. No one said anything to me. None of that ever happened, but she had let an assumption take her all the way down the path of now she’ angry with them, but they never did anything. I was just busy.

Don’t let your assumptions run wild because the thoughts that we have can often be misleading. They can often lead us in the wrong path. This is one of the things I would highly recommend if you’re dealing with people undermining your leadership or at least you feel that way. One bit of advice would be not just don’t assume, verify, ask the right questions but also you may want to consider meditation. Meditation really helped me in calming my mind so I didn’t have so many racing thoughts and assumptions gone wild in my own head. So step one is don’t assume.

Lessons from Jack Welch.

When I share something valuable from Jack Welch, he’s since passed on but he was the head of General Electric for 20, 25 years something like that and he increased their revenue by like 25,000 or something crazy. He had some really strong but powerful philosophies around leadership. One of them was that he said there are four types of employees. Now maybe you’re in network marketing or maybe you’re in something else where it’s not exactly employees but you can translate this to whatever it is that you’re doing.

Number one, you have the person that meets all their metrics, meets all their numbers, meets their work duties and they carry the culture of the company that you want. They are really easy, you hug them, you squeeze them, you give them raises, you love on them – give them recognition etc.

Second type of person is the person that doesn’t meet their quota, doesn’t meet their metrics, doesn’t do the activities, doesn’t do their duty and also doesn’t carry the culture of the company. That’s also really simple, you let them go. If you’re in a scenario like in a network marketing, it’s just- they’re just not going to get a lot of your personal time – that is how you would translate that, you’re not firing them but they just wouldn’t get a lot of your personal time.

The third is someone who isn’t meeting their metrics, isn’t hitting their quota but they carry the culture of the company and they have that culture. Culture being how do others feel around them, are they caring about their fellow person, whatever culture you want to embody. With that person you mentor them, you try to help them out. Why aren’t they consistent or why aren’t they hitting their numbers? Maybe there’s a skill set gap there and you help them out with that.

The fourth kind is the hardest. The fourth kind is the person that meets all their metrics, you know they may even be a rock star but they do not carry the culture of the company. That’s the tough one, that’s the one that you may have to terminate, that’s the one that you may have to let go. I’ve experienced this in both the corporate world/corporate environment. I had a chief operating officer that was very good at what he did but I would get calls every day from someone he upset, from someone he belittled, from someone he made feel less than and so I eventually let him go. My stress levels plummeted as soon as I did even though he was good at his job, his disregard for culture just was not worth it. Now where you see this in industries like network marketing is a lot of times you’ll have a super producer that thinks they can just walk all over everybody. Their leader will be nervous to say something because they’re producing. I want to make that money, I don’t want to piss them off and have them quit or change companies or anything. The problem is when you allow that kind of behavior for your other team members to be treated like crap, they see that and they think I don’t want to be part of this. “They allow that here…I don’t want to be here” and you’ll lose a lot of would-be leaders for protecting the one that’s trampling all over everyone’s soul.

When someone isn’t following the culture, I’ve learned that you bring it up to them and you’re specific. You never say to someone, “hey, you’re not doing company culture,” because they were like “what? What do you mean?” A lot of times their personality doesn’t translate that, you have to be specific. Example, “when Susie came to you and said “this,” you said “this,” that’s not cool bro. Don’t answer like that, that’s not how we do this here.” Be specific in your feedback. Be specific in your critique and give them a shot. Give them a chance to rehabilitate. Sometimes that’ll happen, a lot of times it won’t. If it doesn’t then that’s something you’re going to have to distance yourself from. Whether it’s in a corporate environment of letting them go (like I’ve had to) or it’s in an environment where maybe they’re no longer on the leadership calls or they’re no longer recognized and edified on stage. This is very powerful if you want to build a team of a lot of people that want to have leadership in your group, this is a very important one to understand.

I want to hear from you.

Before we get to my last point, I’m curious have you ever had to deal with someone who is a super producer but really made you feel like crap? Don’t name them, but what was your experience? Did you do anything to improve that situation? Is there something that I can learn from your situation? Drop me a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Two ways to change others.

I’m going to give you two ways to change others. This may sound magical or mystical and to be honest, some of it is. I have coached a lot of spouses that were not happy in their relationship with their significant other. One of the very first steps I have them make every day is this…I’m talking about a relationship but it could also be in a workplace or it could be in a team. First of all every day, if there’s someone that’s undermining your leadership or someone that you don’t think is respecting you, every day make a list. Don’t share it with them, don’t tell them I’m making this list about you. Make a list and write 10 things you’re grateful for about them and this is especially effective because you should be able to come up with 10 things about your significant other. If it’ is someone in your team, maybe it’s not ten things, maybe it’s five things. If your significant other, I would suggest ten things a day that you’re grateful for about them. Either they helped you with something or you’re glad that they do something right or that they have a job or whatever. Write down (without telling them) 10 things you’re grateful for about them and do it every single day and watch how they can feel that without knowing you’re doing it. We pick up on people when they’re grateful for us or happy to see us or excited for us and we also pick up the negative too, in little nuance movements, eye gestures and things like that.

I have had people just do this very simple exercise and have their significant other completely change. I have seen this in sales organizations as well, so that’s number one.

Number two is see yourself and them better. See the other people treating you with respect. This you do in your mind. You see this in your mind, what would it look like if they were respecting my leadership? What would that look like? Ask yourself how would that feel? How would I know it’s true? This is very powerful for you to start to see these images of things yet to come or things that you know you’re not even sure will come, but see them as if they’re already here. See as if they treat you exactly the way you wish that they would treat you. You combine that with all the other things we talked about in this post and you’re going to see some real change in your life.

Do you need help around leadership?

I actually have a book called Freakishly Effective Leadership and I’ll put the link here, Just click that link. It’s also on Amazon. It will help you out to better understand how to work with others, how to motivate them, how to get them excited, how to give them recognition and I think it really helped you.

Ray Higdon

Play Bigger. Make An Impact.

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