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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.)

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.


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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