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How a bad attitude can spoil the team

September 1, 2020

8 min read

The opinions of the employees of You are personal.

  • One employee can destabilize the entire team and reduce productivity.
  • If you hire badly and can’t do without that person, avoid meeting them with the others.
How a bad attitude can spoil the teamHow a bad attitude can spoil the team

At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, Norway won more gold medals than any other country.

But not only did they win the most medals this year, they also won more than any other country in a single Olympics.

The secret of your success? No fools.

“We have a saying,” said alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal New York Times. “There are almost no skills or abilities that you can have that are so good that you can ruin the social qualities of the team.”

For the Norwegian men’s ski team, the ability to keep these “fools” at bay has resulted in a strong bond that improves their performance in competition: the team meets every Friday for a taco evening. Their dynamic is so functional that they share hotel rooms and even beds when traveling. They all freely share their tactics and techniques with each other and make sure that everyone brings their best on the slopes.

“If you have team-mates cheering you on all the time, the environment will make you happy,” said Svindal’s team-mate Kjetil Jansrud. “You will work harder and stay motivated. You are giving yourself the best chance to win.”

Photo: Josh Calabrese via Unsplash

The same applies, of course, to the workplace. A healthy team dynamic is crucial for the well-being of the company. But that also means that bad attitudes can bring a healthy office ecosystem to a standstill.

The cost of a bad rent

Bad attitudes are expensive on many levels. The Department of Labor found that poor attitudes and sales can cost a company 30 percent of its annual profits. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, whose company has notoriously satisfied employees, once estimated that bad attitudes cost the company “more than $ 100 million.”

But your bottom line isn’t even where a bad attitude hurts the most. In fact, CFOs evaluate the morale and productivity impact before monetary losses.

An employee who does not fit into the corporate culture, as the Norwegian men’s ski team puts it, can have destabilizing effects on the entire company.


In some cases, productivity can drop across the board as others have to work harder to achieve goals to make up for someone who isn’t doing their best. This increases the risk of knocking out the best members of your team and taking their skills and knowledge with them.

They can also damage your company’s reputation both externally and internally. Bad attitudes can permanently damage customer relationships. Internally, word of mouth and review sites like Glassdoor enable employees to make informed decisions about where to work. Satisfied employees often refer friends and colleagues to your company. However, when they are unhappy, they often warn potential talented employees to stay away.

This will avoid a bad attitude

Every employee you hire will not be perfect. However, there are ways to increase your chances of picking a team that will go all the way.

Before even posting an ad, it is important to find out exactly what skills a new hire should have. Create a job description that clearly outlines the roles and experience required to perform well. A detailed overview not only helps in attracting talent who are really suitable for the job, but also provides guidance on how to avoid strays.


As the founder of BootstrapI let my company grow JotForm, slowly and carefully. This gradual growth has enabled me to find out what I really value. I’ve made a few mistakes, but in expanding from a sole proprietorship to a company with 250+ employees, I’ve learned a lot about what to look for when hiring.

One of my main conclusions? Having the right skills is only part of the puzzle.

Look out for what HBR refers to as a “sign of courtesy” throughout the interview process. If you ask the applicant how they have dealt with previous situations, you will get more information than what-if scenarios, “How would you deal with …” or “What would you do if …” and so on. Make your values ​​known during the interview and ask for examples of how past behavior aligns with those values.

In fact, Zappos has two types of interviews. The first examines the candidate’s skills, experience, etc., but also does another round to determine the cultural fit. To get the job, the candidate must pass both types.

Another useful Zappos tactic is to look for recommendations in unexpected places. When a candidate flies in for an interview, the company sends a shuttle to the airport. The company managers will ask the driver if the applicant was nice or rude. No matter how qualified the candidate is, the impolite will never pass the test.

Do you remember the Norwegian ski team? No fools

What to do if I have a bad contract

Let’s face it: sometimes, even though you’ve done everything right, you end up with someone who just doesn’t fit in.

Make no mistake about it – only 19 percent of new hires are considered completely successful. After 18 months, 46 percent are considered failures.

So what do you do when you’ve hired poorly?

Instead of waiting for the person to magically change overnight, it is better to prepare for a direct and likely awkward conversation with your new employee. Share your concerns with them and find solutions that can please both of you.

If that doesn’t work, it’s time to evaluate the current and future costs of hiring people. Has there been an increase in labor disputes? Are other employees having trouble insuring them? Often times, you won’t realize the extent of the negative effects a bad attitude has had until you eliminate them.

If the relationship cannot be saved, you can still make its departure as painless as possible. Work with your HR department and try to negotiate a plan that will benefit everyone.

If separation from the employee is not an option, you can at least mitigate the damage: Separate them from the rest of the team by rearranging the desks or having fewer meetings for everyone. Christine Porath, Associate Professor at Georgetown and author of Mastering Courtesy: A Manifesto for the Workplacehe calls this “immunizing” others.

Photo: Anne Nygård via Unsplash

“They try to protect people like a disease,” says Porath. “Hopefully the number of problems will decrease and [minimice] cognitive loss “.

Even so, it is important that not one person uses up all of your time and energy. Porath suggests surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people and looking for meaning and purpose in your work.

“If someone exhausts you, improve yourself by exercising, eating well, sleeping, and taking breaks, both short-term and on vacation [a largo plazo]”She says.” Being healthy and proactive is the only thing we know that protects people from the effects of toxic behavior.

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