Are you aware that something could be lurking on your team that is highly dangerous? Something that sucks the energy of your team and is probably dragging down the morale of everyone?
There is a good chance that you don’t even know what it is, but your team does.
Employees usually fall into one of five categories…
Every team has its share of rock stars (those employees that you wish you had more of) and rising stars (rock stars who simply lack experience). Your team most likely also has many steady stars (meet expectations, but don’t usually exceed expectations) and falling stars (those you wish would just quit due to their consistent poor performance).
But there is one star that leaders give very little attention to and this star will drag and let your team down every time – they are Deceiving Stars.
Deceiving stars are those stars that appear to be rock stars, but are really falling stars in rock star clothing.
This group of stars gets things done, but it is usually at the expense of relationships, team morale, and ultimately teamwork. Some leaders can be deceived by this group of stars and often consider them rock stars, instead of bottom stars. But beware! They are really bottom-tier falling stars, not rock stars.
In a wonderful Ted Talk titled “Forget the Pecking Order at Work,” Margaret Heffernan, an entrepreneur and author, refers to what I am calling deceiving stars as super chickens.
She shares an interesting experiment done by William Muir, an evolutionary biologist at Purdue University who was interested in productivity.
Muir chose to use chickens in his productivity experiment for one simple reason—you can easily measure a chicken’s productivity by counting their eggs. His goal was to find out what factors could make one group of chickens more productive over another.
He broke his chickens into two groups. The first flock he selected were average chickens. He left this first flock alone for six generations. The second flock he chose only the best—this is the flock Heffernan called super chickens. And each successive generation he would continue to select only the best of the best of these super chickens for breeding, in hopes of creating what you might call super, super chickens.
After six generations with both flocks he found something very intriguing. The first flock of average chickens did just fine. They seemed happy, plump, had lots of feathers, and their egg production had increased dramatically.
What about the second flock? All but three of the super chickens were dead. Those three had pecked the others to death! These super chickens had only achieved their success and survived by suppressing the productivity of the rest.
They were strong egg producers and performers, but at the expense of the rest of the flock or team.
These are the rock stars on your team (high performers) who are really falling stars in super star clothing. And although they may initially be viewed as rock stars, over time they wear everyone out, including leaders. Their only focus is on themselves and they do everything they can to put themselves in the spotlight.
Hoarding information, taking all of the credit, or failing to pitch in when someone needs help are just a few of some of the unhealthy behaviors of deceiving stars.
Unfortunately, leaders often fail to do anything with these super chickens because they get so much done. But there is a problem, and it is a big, big problem. Treating deceiving stars as rock stars will begin to alienate your people, diminish team trust, lessen communication, and cause a whole host of relationship problems that will ultimately slow down your team. Selfishness on teams tends to do that.
What do you do about deceiving stars? I go into much more detail around each of the stars, including deceiving stars in my new book, Do You Care to Lead? A 5-Part Formula for Creating Loyal and Results-Focused Teams and Organizations It is available everywhere books are sold including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.