How to Define Deadweight

Teams rise when you ditch deadweight.

“[Will] Felps estimates that teams with just one deadbeat, downer, or asshole suffer a performance disadvantage of 30 to 40 percent compared to teams that have no bad apples.” (Bob Sutton in, Good Boss Bad Boss.)

Teams rise when you ditch deadweight. Image of hot air balloons.

How to define deadweight:

#1. People who have it all together. You want dedication to personal growth, not someone who has arrived.

#2. People who go to bed with the status quo. The best team players pursue excellence. Listen for, “How can we do better?”

#3. People in it exclusively for themselves.

#4. People who don’t share team values.

#5. People who don’t adapt. It’s their way or the highway.

#6. People who focus on weakness.

#7. People who are constantly overbooked.

#8. People who lack emotional intelligence. Dead-weight doesn’t understand how they drain energy from others.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is twice as important as IQ and technical skill for jobs at all levels. (HBR)

#9. People who say no as a matter of habit.

#10. People who dismiss feedback.

#11. People who lack transparency. Performance requires trust.

#12. People who wait to be told what to do.

Catastrophe follows generosity when you tolerate deadweight. Image of a volcano at night.


Everyone on your team is somewhere on the above list including you. No one has it all together. See #1.

You aren’t looking for perfection. You’re looking for people dedicated to improvement.

The most important thing:

The most important thing is energy.

“Being an energizer is 4X more important than your title, position in a hierarchy, position in an influence network, or your position in an information network.” Kim Cameron

Action item:

Discuss the deadweight-list with your team. Put yourself on the list. Ask them to find themselves on the list. Explore ways to become energizers.

If you don’t run a team, explore ways to personally bring positive energy.

Which items on the deadweight-list do you frequently see in others? In yourself?

20 Positive Ways to Confront Poor Performance

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