How do you handle a bad apple?

As I’m typing this article, the halftime show of the Super Bowl is playing in the background (the Black Eyed Peas aren’t sufficiently holding my attention). “My team” isn’t playing in this Super Bowl so I am not terribly invested in the outcome but I find myself rooting for the Green Bay Packers simply because of the presence of Ben Roethlisberger on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ line up. Regardless of whether the sexual assault charges against him hold weight, Roethlisberger has seemed to court bad publicity in recent years. At the same time, the fact that his team is currently playing in the Super Bowl means that he is objectively a talented player.

This raises a broader question to organizations: at what point does an employee’s disruptiveness or bad attitude outweigh whatever talents they might bring to the table?

In order to answer that question as a manager, you really need to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is as an organization. If, in this example, Pittsburgh’s ultimate goal was to play in the Super Bowl then perhaps putting up with whatever negativity Roethlisberger brought to the table was worth it. On the other hand, having the national spotlight on the Pittsburg team has certainly brought Roethlisberger’s problems even more into the public consciousness. Therefore, if Pittsburgh’s ultimate goal is to create more fans of their franchise then perhaps the team would have been better off trading Roethlisberger for a more likeable quarterback.

How would you handle a player/employee like Roethlisberger on your team?

How do you strike a balance between getting results without sacrificing your organizational values?

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