When the tiger roars

by on July 18, 2012 · 3 Comments POSTED IN: HR Cafe
saber-toothed-tiger-260x173.jpg

For better or worse, we’ve all met the Tiger.

He’s a star performer. Ask him to get the job done and it happens … on time and under budget. His work is top-notch. You wish everyone on your team could deliver his level of performance and attention to every detail.

Just like that big cat, he’s a top-of-the food-chain hunter who brings home that gazelle for dinner. He’s great at what he does and he knows it.

Not an easy pet
But the problem with Tigers is they’re not always the optimal animal to have around the office.

They howl and roar, routinely terrorizing the office staff, demanding that their paperwork be handled immediately. Making demand after demand, they bear their claws while tongue-lashing co-workers so badly they may burst into tears or even threaten to quit.

A Tiger presents a real dilemma for his boss: You don’t want to lose him because he gets the job done at a high level every time. You could threaten him with the “chair and whip” but he’s so full of himself, and he may just get angry and walk. You need him to change his behavior but you don’t want to lose him if at all possible.

Tiger-taming
So how to tame that Tiger? Try the S.T.O.P. Model:

  • First STROKE the Tiger — carefully praise his work and show him you understand his value to the company.
  • Next, emphasize the bond of TRUST you have with your star … the kind of trust that allows you to frankly discuss the uncomfortable subject of his behavior
  • Then, OUTLINE the facts –- the costs associated with his bad behavior: the tears, the threats to quit, the amount of time you have to spend cleaning up the messes he leaves in his wake
  • Finally, PIN the Tiger down by getting him to agree to a specific action plan that he helps devise. Then, put it in writing and make him stick to it.

Will your Tiger like the S.T.O.P. plan? Probably not. But if the process is carried out in an atmosphere of mutual respect and fairness, it can work.

Of course, if after all this effort your Tiger is still growling, you may ultimately have to take aim at him, even if it means termination.

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3 Comments on This Post

  1. Laurelannk10
    July 18, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    Tigers as described are more likely to be terrorizing co-workers into getting his/her work done — hence the “routinely on time and under-budget” result. The STOP plan may likely reveal that this individual really ISN’T your star performer and is well worth losing through termination. Then the other six or so people on the team can begin to shine and –voila!  A more productive team than ever thought possible!

  2. Laurelannk10
    July 18, 2012 - 2:10 pm

    Tigers as described are more likely to be terrorizing co-workers into getting his/her work done — hence the “routinely on time and under-budget” result. The STOP plan may likely reveal that this individual really ISN’T your star performer and is well worth losing through termination. Then the other six or so people on the team can begin to shine and –voila!  A more productive team than ever thought possible!

  3. pennypatt2
    July 18, 2012 - 7:18 pm

    Good behavior is every bit as important as good work.  A company cannot let themselves be ‘held hostage’ to the demands or bad behavior of one employee – no matter how on time & on budget their work is.   If they are affecting the productivity or morale of those around him, then he is costing the company time and money.  No employee is indispensable.  Be upfront with the employee, let him know that his behavior is not acceptable and ‘clearly’ outline your expectations.  Either the employee will come around or he will be looking for employment else where. 

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