Dissension in the Ranks

How many of us have worked in organizations where there is (or was) dissension in the ranks?

How many times have you seen that dissension, even one strong voice, limit your organization's success?

How many times have you wondered why someone didn't do something about it? My bet is you answered yes, often and all the time to the above questions. We all see this behavior - it's passive aggressive and one of the biggest reasons companies fail.

Dissension in the ranks can cause one heck of a downdraft.

Especially when our employee "leaders" are the cause. These respected employees smile and agree to the plan for a new strategy, a new market focus or a new product in public. Then they return to their teams and continue to operate as always, negating any progress.

Employee leaders who've been with an organization for a long time will often fight for the status quo. After all, its their source of power. Others follow their lead, and change (or forward progress) slows to a grinding halt. In the air force, this is mutiny. In business, it's cause for termination.

Yet all too often we behave as if our business is a democracy, allowing others to hold and voice their opinions all too publicly. After all, it's the HR thing to do, right?

We'll hang on to employees who are staging a mutiny right before our eyes. And then wonder why we have problems moving forward.

If you hear yourself making excuses for certain' key' employees, you need to rethink their role in your organization.

He's a great guy. I'm sure he is. But if he's undermining your strategy for change, it doesn't matter how great he is. He either needs to come along for the ride, or take a different plane. Niceness is not an excuse for an employee sabotaging your business decisions. That's insubordination (after a point) and it can spread throughout your organization.

She's been here since the beginning. Maybe that's part of the problem. Especially if you're steering a new course. If she's a vehement proponent of the status quo no matter what, it's time for a change. Just because someone has longevity with a business doesn't mean they get to mutiny. Long-term employees are fabulous resources when they follow your lead. When they dig their heels in, kicking and screaming, they're a drag you can't afford.

We'll lose people if he leaves. Maybe that's a good thing. If all those peo- ple are as resistant to change as he is then maybe they're extra weight you don't need. If they are unhappy and can't see and sell your vision, you're no longer a match. Negative employees impact you internally and externally. No one is indispensable.

Then there's the unspoken excuse. Most leaders don't like to be seen as the bad guys. No one wants to be the heavy who fired poor Margaret after ten years of loyal service.

Popularity is not the most important part of a leader's job description.

Sometimes the decisions are tough. When we don't step up and make the tough calls to ditch the dissension, our business and all of our employees suffer.

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