How to Deal with the Toughest Resistor on Your Team

I am commonly asked about how my philosophies apply to the toughest resistor on the team, the worst-case examples. We all have one. Perhaps it’s someone who you have acquired on your team, one that has been working at the company for 25 years and is just riding the wave, or even more extreme, one that you’ve had to get legal or HR involved, and you can’t fire.

I’m here to tell you my stuff won’t work on deviant behavior or the worst-case example. But my advice is to quit focusing on them, quit feeding it. It’s not likely you can do anything to change their behavior if they’re not willing to change, however you can reflect on your behavior around them and quit enabling them.

When I was in this situation as a manager, I just didn’t invite them to my brainstorming or planning meetings. They would ask: “Why wasn’t I invited?” I was honest with them, and said, “Because you’re not present or contributing in a helpful manner when you are included.” They would always reply: “Well, I want to be at the meeting.” To which I say: “Great, can you behave in a manner that is goal-oriented and helpful?” (usually the answer was always “I don’t agree with the objective!”) “Then you’re not going to be at the meeting.”

Setting healthy boundaries for my team’s performance and behavior was one thing I could control, so I quit enabling people.

Our philosophy isn’t designed to change deviant behavior. Our philosophy is designed for those people that are willing, and enables them to be better and greater.

That’s why I always say work with the willing, otherwise it’s game over. Don’t spend time on the resistors, just be honest with them. Do what you can legally. Move them out of the organization, if possible. At this point, coaching won’t change them. If you can’t move them out, don’t feed or enable them.

Our philosophy is for leaders to use on the people at work who just need better mental processes. It works on the majority of your people who are willing, or can quickly get willing. It activates them, conserves the drama, and puts them in a great position to succeed.

If you find yourself getting stuck on one person in resistance (let’s call him “Ed”), note your ego’s role in this. Your inner ego rant will constantly talk to you with: “But, what about Ed?” You find it so hard to ignore that inner mind monologue because you’re so upset with Ed. You see, we all have an Ed, but Ed doesn’t live until you feed it. The resistors have no power until you give them power.

Divorce Ed.

Divorce Ed in your head, because my techniques will work for the majority of your people.

Nobody does anything we don’t agree to. So even if I can’t fire you, I don’t have to agree to and give you time or energy. If you think “Ed” is the problem, that’s where my philosophy of stop judging comes in. If your ego tries to tell you your life is perfect except for Ed, self-reflect; because you’re blaming your circumstances for why you can’t succeed. Everybody has an Ed, so move on.

For more on dealing with difficult employees, watch my video:

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