The Ghost in the Machine

This Halloween, make sure you avoid the rotten apples that ruin the candy haul. You want treats, not tricksters, so be on the lookout for these three spoilers.

The Ghost in the Machine

These are your team members who quit but forgot to tell you. They may be present physically, but mentally they checked out a long time ago. When your new hire leaves work excessively early every day, especially without permission, then you know you have made a terrible mistake. You know you have made a wrong hire when your new hire is always idle. They attend meetings without saying anything contributory. When work is given, they act uninterested and may leave work undone or pass it on to someone else referred to as a workplace buddy. You're not sure what they're working on, and when you try and figure it out, they float off into thin air. You'll often scare them off into oblivion if you get too close to managing their actions because there's nothing there. The leader needs to nail down the comings and goings of these free-floating apparitions so they can ghost no more.

The Terror of the Tares

Think of the parable of weeds or tares in Matthew 13:24-43. Tares are the divisive team members who grow up alongside your collaborative team and develop into something nefarious and invasive. They appear to be team players initially but begin morphing into something unhealthy for the entity. It takes a keen-eyed leader to eradicate this character malformation before it metastasizes into cultural cancer. Like a cell turned cancerous, you start to see a slight divergence as the tare shows its true colors manifested through its sarcastic tone, superiority complex, and critical spirit. Professional maturity takes time to develop and must be monitored continuously, even amongst seasoned employees. What appears healthy one year may turn rogue the next so pay close attention.

The Emotional Vampires

There is a term in psychology called emotional contagion. An emotional contagion is a form of social contagion involving the spontaneous spread of emotions and related behaviors. Such dynamic convergence can happen from one person to another or in a larger group. An emotional vampire sucks the blood of culture out of the entity through toxic attitudes and behaviors. They insist on bringing drama into the workforce, and if they are having a bad day feel the need to infect others. Make sure you keep an eye out for its emergence, and be sure and stake it through the heart asap. They are a drain on the energy of the organization and turn the workplace into a no-go zone. People are cordial and like to enjoy working with one another. Emotional vampires are just the opposite.

These three scary monsters aren't so evil when you deal with them at the earliest opportunity. If you wait too long, you may have created your own organizational horror story.


AbsenteeismBad attitudesDisengaged employeesEmotional contagionInvasivesNegative attiduesPoor performanceToxic atittudeWeeks

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