4 Ways to Deal with Deadweight
Successful leaders deal with people who take up space but don’t contribute.
12 ways to be deadweight:
- Complain about entitled millennials. Have you noticed how entitled older leaders expect young people to bow down to their experience? I can’t tell who’s more entitled.
- Commit fully to your comfort zone. Do your best to make people dance around your preferences.
- Beat down infant ideas with questions about details and definitions.
- Cling to offenses. You’re still upset about the policy change of 2005.
- Smile and agree in the meeting. Drag your feet when the work begins.
- Refuse to adapt. Policy is policy.
- Reject all attempts to update systems and software. It can’t be better if it’s working for you.
- Say, “We already tried that,” at least three times a day.
- Disagree because it’s fun to throw your weight around. Remove the word “constructive” from dissent.
- Encourage people to worry about the people upstairs. Just bringing up the CEO is enough to stall any initiative.
- Demand perfection. Reject better.
- Remind everyone about something that’s lacking, when things are going good. “That’s great. But what about …?”
4 ways to deal with deadweight:
#1. Figure out the strengths of deadweight and apply them appropriately. I’ve found that deadweight isn’t always dead. I’ve been frustrated with fellow leaders because I didn’t understand or respect their strengths.
Just because someone sees things differently, doesn’t make them deadweight.
#2. Put all your deadweight on the same team. Don’t spread poison through your organization. Who knows, the deadweight may come up with something useful. At least they won’t be polluting everyone.
#3. Assign deadweight to established projects. Don’t expect historical obstacles to magically get behind new initiatives.
#4. Help deadweight take their talent to an organization where they’ll be appreciated.
What are some qualities or behaviors of deadweight?
How might leaders deal with deadweight?
This is an AMAZING post! Thank you for sharing it!
Good stuff, Dan. I am a fan.
I agree with you Dan. Deadweights seek entitlements, misuse power and dis-harmonize the systems. You have covered most of the points. I would add some more. Deadweights believe that they know more than others. And therefore, they do not accept suggestions, ideas and opinions. Because of their position, they have developed inertia. This inertia hinders their willingness to accept and adapt to new situations. They have taken granted to their ways of thinking. All these points have only one cause- fear. They have fear and that is why they stop everything. They know they will be exposed.
A sense of moral support can solve the problems. Leaders can inculcate confidence in them. They resist because they have no self confidence. Once they know their potential, it is easy to align them with organizational goals. If you resist them, they will equally resist. So, convince, persuade and encourage them. Then see the miracle.
I agree with you Dan.
Excellent insights; thanks for today’s post.
If you put all your dead weight in one team, don’t you then have one team that will never amount to anything? What does that say about your leadership/coaching skills? Is dead weight-ism a permanent condition? Is there no room for influenced performance by using the great to influence the good to be great and using the good to influence the not so good?
Thanks Muthoni. There is opportunity for the great to influence the good, if the good aspire to be great. But, if they did aspire to be great, they wouldn’t be dead weight. Overall, it’s better to protect the great from the dead than to try to have the great try to raise the dead.
Excellent post as always, and I think your ideas on dealing with the deadweight are great suggestions.
Deadweight is something all teams have. For new teams, or teams with new managers, the managers may not be able to see this deadweight behind their seeming competence. It suspiciously stalls progress. They spread their lack of faith in the direction of the team behind your back. How can you spot this type of deadweight?
I feel like dead weight, being a target team member for flow team for 8 yrs now. How do I change? I ask for more opportunities around the store, but it seems like they’re taken. I’ve only been experiencing these feelings for about 6 months now.
Putting all your deadweight together in one team is a super idea. Even better is to figure out what makes them cynical or averse to progress/change? Sometimes it is what the organisation has done to them before, sometimes it is how you deal with them. Deadweight can often transform to it weight in gold.
The most annoying thing when teamed-up with deadweights is when things get really busy, or there are important deadlines approaching. I try to rise to the challenge and put in some extra effort (working longer hours, faster, better quality work) to complete the task. The harder I work, the lazier, slower, and crappy the deadweights’ work becomes. It seems they always have a finely attuned sense of the minimal acceptable quality and amount of work and are acutely aware of when the boss is watching. Instead of my increased motivation being contagious, more of the workload shifts onto me. The net effect is there little noticeable improvement. I find this extremely frustrating. I’ve faced this problem both at work and at home for the last 11 years and I’m getting really burned-out.