Years ago I was serving on a team where there was a consistent idea killer. Whenever anyone on the team presented an idea, regardless of the idea’s merit, this person would shoot it down. It was annoying, but was allowed to continue by leadership. Everyone talked about it outside of the meetings, no one respected the idea killer, and even the leader admitted it was a problem for the team, but he insisted he had counseled with this person privately, and it never seemed to improve.
It led me to the conclusion:
Sometimes as a leader you have to address the “elephant in the room”…in the room.
Everyone knows it’s there.
You can’t miss an elephant.
It keeps being repeated.
You’ve handled it individually.
Nothing has changed.
It may even be getting worse.
At some point, the leaders may have to address the elephant in the room.
You can’t ignore the elephant.
While everyone is in the room, address the elephant.
You may have to call out the person causing the disruption in the presence of everyone else in the room. It’s hard, uncomfortable, and you don’t want to do it often, but it may be necessary.
If you don’t:
- Everyone will assume poor performance is tolerated.
- The negative activity will be copied by others.
- Team dynamics will never be healthy.
Address the elephant!
Everyone already knows it’s there. You can’t hide the elephant.
Do I need to repeat that again?
It’s time. Do it now.
Have you ever served on a team where the elephant wasn’t addressed and it negatively impacted the team?