Is there anything better than a fresh bowl of fruit?  The smell of fresh fruit, the glow, the glisten, the look of fresh fruit.  It's inspiring.  It just makes you want to eat fresh fruit!  Whether they're apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, when it's fresh, it's gorgeous. It’s delicious.

It’s like when you've got a team, a team of fresh new faces.  They are inspiring and motivating each other.  They all feed off each other.  Just like a bowl of apples glow off each other.  The problem that occurs in our teams is that when one apple becomes rotten, it stays in the fruit bowl, and impacts the rest of the fruit bowl.  Surprisingly, for many of us, it's how quickly one rotting apple can rot that entire fruit bowl.  The glisten, the glow, the inspiration of the rest of the fruit bowl can be ruined.

bowl of fresh apples

Firing a Toxic Employee For the Good of the Team

Recently, I had a discussion with a client with a toxic staff member. Now this client could have kept this employee on the team. But she would have lost three other team members.  Fortunately, three other team members were honest enough with that owner to say if this toxic employee didn't go, they were.  In this case,  the sake of keeping one toxic person in her business she would have lost her entire fruit bowl!  Once she removed the one toxic individual, the change in morale and performance was instantaneous.  

Leaders Have to Make Tough Decisions

As leaders, we have to make tough decisions.  Sometimes in business, those tough decisions revolve around people.  None of us like firing somebody.  Many leaders don't even like to have those tough conversations around accountability. However, what we know when we look at multiple businesses, whether departments, small businesses or even sporting teams, is that when we have one toxic individual, the toxicity spreads. When it spreads, it makes our business worse.  Once it's spread, we may be forced to get rid of everybody and start again with a whole new bunch of inspiring people to work for us.  

With three percent unemployment in Australia and many places around the world, it's difficult to find new people to work in our teams. It's not easy to fire someone. When I spoke with this client, I described it as a metaphor. That toxic person was like a black cloud over the team.  When we remove that black cloud, the sunlight comes through, and for this particular individual, when we removed this toxic team member, the morale of the staff changed almost overnight.  There was positivity, there was laughter again, and believe it or not, the performance improved.

bowl of fresh apples with rotting apple to the side

What About an Employee Who Performs Great?

What’s the message here?  Sometimes, as leaders, we have to make those tough decisions.  You can have an employee who is performing well, but they are not part of the culture of the business.  In other words, they don't believe in what your business is doing. Or perhaps they are doing it for the wrong reasons.  As leaders, we need to make the tough decision to fire someone who is performing well.  However, when that toxic employee is removed, the environment changes to a positive outlook, and that is the key to success.  The key to success for you as a leader is to make those tough decisions.  Somebody might perform well, but they're toxic on your culture.  They're toxic on everybody else around you, so you have a choice. Keep that rotting fruit or move it on.

4 Things Leaders Can Do Today 

1. Analyze the culture of your business.  

2. Analyze what is happening in your business and with your people.

3. Create an open culture where employees feel comfortable being honest with you

4. Have the courage to make the tough decisions. 

That's the challenge for you.  Do you have a piece of rotting fruit, or do you have a fruit bowl of glistening inspiring team members? Which do you want in your business? Ripe and rotting or green and growing?  Or in this case red and growing!  If not everybody is on the same page regardless of their performance, they could impact the greater performance of your business.  

At Active Management, my goal is to add value to your business. Whether you are a department leader, team leader, or owner of a business. I want to add value by sharing my experiences.  As I work with customers and clients, I want to share with you what I learn. And hopefully, I can make you a strong leader. 

Book a coaching call with JT!