Top Performer a Bully?

A big complaint I hear is “The top performer a bully, but their performance is stellar.” The real problem here is that behavior is not considered a part of performance, so it’s justified instead of corrected. The behavior allowed then becomes the standard.

What to do: Make the unconscious conscious. You can’t fix what you can’t articulate. If you can’t describe the dysfunctional behavior, you won’t be able to coach behavioral change.

Suppose Victoria, your senior vice president of design, continues to disagree and interrupt at team-meetings when she should be listening and brainstorming with the group. You know you need to speak with her, but you feel trepidation.

Before having a conversation use this template to answer a couple of questions.

  1. What is the person doing that shouldn’t be done?
  2. How does that affect our culture, teamwork, productivity or results?

Once you answer those two questions, you can then use observable behavior to bring the unconscious to light.

An example:

“Victoria, I noticed that you interrupted Robert three times at the meeting yesterday. After that no one spoke up. When you interrupt before hearing others’ opinions, it is disruptive to teamwork and engagement.”

Victoria will likely resist, but that’s OK. None of us like to have our blind spots revealed, but this opens the door for coaching and support.

In the end it’s important to build a culture where behavior is part of performance.