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Fixing Problem Employees: Keep Them Near The Vision

The great arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, went on incredibly risky expeditions in Antartica. As a result, he needed to keep his men focused and motivated because it was a life or death circumstance. But like every project, he had his share of complainers. His unique strategy was to keep the complainers close to him. So when he divided up work teams, he put the problem employees on his team. He even had them sleep in his tent at night. As a result, they didn’t veer off into clicks where their complaints could fester and grow. Plus, the more time they spent with him, the more time they heard about the vision, the stakes, and the goal from the leader himself.

Our natural tendency as leaders is to distance ourselves from the “problem” people on the team. But if you can’t get rid of them, do what Shackleton did – keep them close. It may not only save the project, but save the team as well.