Doing the Whole Job

Mark, Mark, Mark. Do I ever remember Mark!

He was the golden child at one of the first jobs I ever had, a salesman who charmed the socks off every customer and brought in business like he was bringing in the morning paper.

But I noticed a funny thing at the end of the quarter when we looked at the numbers. No wonder he was bringing them in by the dozens—he was giving away the farm! Mark was so focused on getting customers to love him that he undercut our profits on every sale!

But here’s the thing—no one else seemed to notice, or if they did, they didn’t care. When I pointed it out to a colleague, she shrugged and said, “Hey, Mark does what he has to do. He’s a superstar.”

No, no, NO! You can’t be a great baseball player if you hit like a cannon but field like an old lady. And you can’t be a great salesperson if you close a thousand deals and they’re all bad. So though I wasn’t a manager, I kept tapping shoulders until I found the person with the awareness to see the problem and the power to tackle it.

EVERY job has more than one skill set. When someone is a superstar in one aspect of their position, it’s easy for everyone to be so blinded by the brilliance that they don’t notice if he or she is terrible at the rest of the job!

Such an imbalance is often a sign of an emotional intelligence gap. Mark probably would have had a high score in “intuition and empathy” on emotional intelligence tests, which would make him a very lovable guy to customers, but that same quality caused him to seriously drop the ball in other key areas. That’s not good.

If someone on your team is like this, you have two choices:

1. Coach for change. If someone with this imbalance is going to stay in his or her current position, that person needs to be coached in a very targeted way to improve the problem area. If you are not the person in a position to do the coaching, you are STILL in a position to bring it to the attention of someone who can get ‘er done.


2. Find the person a new seat—a place where he or she can succeed before any major damage is done. Maybe there’s another position that doesn’t require the same combination of skills. And again, if you aren’t the manager, be the one who makes it happen by pointing out the need.

Either way, avert thine eyes from the superstar’s brilliance and deal with the shortcoming quickly. The sanity of your team members depends on it!

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