“C” Players Kill “A” Players

Stand back because this could get messy. Have you ever worked for a company that employs “C” players? It is kind of a stupid question because if you have been around long enough, of course you have. CheekCopy

When companies put people in jobs they can’t do, or when someone simply chooses not to make an effort, either way you end up with a “C” performance that has a HUGE negative impact on the people in your company, and ultimately the results you get.

Why in the world do managers do this? I really can’t figure it out. I have seen it happen so many times in my professional life and I need someone to explain to me what is going on.

So why do companies allow underperformers to stay in their jobs? Here are some possible answers and reactions to this question:

  • The manager is oblivious to the poor performance of the “C” player (which, by the way, is obvious to EVERYONE around them BUT the manager) and because of that, the person stays in the job. Solution…fire the manager.
  • There is a personal relationship between the “C” player and someone in management, so there is a nice, protective bubble insulating said “C” player. Solution…fire the manager.
  • The “C” player is so full of crap they have convinced everyone around them they are in fact an “A” player and the rubber has not yet met the road. In this scenario, 9 times out of 10, if you have a suspicion about this person being a pretender, just ask your “A” players that work with them every day because they will tell you the truth. This also means that someone is not paying attention, in which case – you guessed it – solution…fire the manager.
  • The right metrics are not in place to measure the success or failure of this “C” player, so they continue to fall through the cracks. Solution…fire the manager.

As you can see, I pretty much blame management for allowing “C” players to stay on the bus. So who cares, you ask? The rest of your team does, that’s who. What is the negative impact to the rest of your team?

  1. They will resent management for allowing this to happen and the team will ultimately lose respect for the leadership.
  2. When “A” players see management allowing “C” players to get by, it causes others to ask, “So tell me again why in the hell I am working so hard when Sally Slacker barely makes an effort?”
  3. It makes it very hard to continue to have a high expectation of performance from your team when you give certain people a pass on quality of work.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone is not doing well in a job, they should be coached up and helped to succeed in that position. But if that doesn’t work, you have to move them to a place that suits them better and watch them thrive. If someone is a “C” player because YOU don’t give him or her the necessary tools to be the “A” player, then they are also excused. But if the “C” player is that way by choice, then you have to make the tough decision to let them pursue other job interests.

cartoon-businessDid someone come to mind after reading this post? I bet they did, so now what do you do? If you are the employee that is tired of working with “C” players, then send this to your boss and just ask them the question, “So who does this remind you of?” You never know, maybe you are thinking of the same person, unless of course it is you, in which case you are screwed.



Am I wrong? Do “C” players drive you crazy and if so what do you do about it? Tell me in the comments section, please!

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