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Vampires and Wolves: No, watch out for the Zombies?

With the current Twilight craze going on, everyone is talking about Vampires and Wolves.  This got me thinking about the various “personalities” that we encounter at the office, more particularly High Performance Teams.  The three that came to mind, are the Vampires, Wolves and Zombies.

Vampires – there are different types of vampires.  The vampire that comes to mind is the blood sucker or the Sang Vampire or Sanguinarian Vampire as the smart people call them.  There are a number of other types but the one that I will touch on here is the Psychic Vampire or Psi Vampire.  These folks will either conscious or unconsciously feed on the life-energy of others.  In the majority of cases, they will feed from the energy from groups but the ones that we need to be aware of,  are the ones that suck the energy from us individually.  For me, the best way to handle these folks that come to drain our energy is just to say “No!”.   It does not make them bad people and often they do not realize what they are doing, they just find it energizing to be around you or in large groups.

Wolves – These guys & gals have their territories and search for food in those territories, they run in packs and will defend against anything that they perceive encroaches on their turf.  Because they are pack animals, the key is for them to see you as part of the pack and to achieve this, the key is to remind them that the enemy is not inside the company.  The enemy is outside the company and in most cases it requires management support to define the common enemy.  That is why they are called competitors.  Internally in the company we call the people that we work with colleagues.

Zombies – these are the folks that come to the office because they need the paycheck.  I am not judging this behavior, I am pointing out that the problem with this behavior is the impact on the rest of the High Performance Team who are busting their humps to solve the business need in the most expedient manner.  Therefore as managers, these folks are our biggest challenge because we need to help them with their self awareness, so that they can see the impact of their behavior on the rest of the team.  I have found that they tend to be blissfully unaware of the impact that their behavior is having on the on the team.  They tend to be horrified when they see how their lack of commitment is impacting the team. They are stunned when they see that their team mates are having to fill in for them not being fully engaged.  In certain cases, some of the team are putting in 110% to make up for them just cruising at 60%.

If the zombie chooses to make the transition back the land of the living, they will struggle with the change in priorities.  Often they are unprepared to handle the sacrifices that the changed priorities demand.  Managers need to be there for their folks to help them and coach them through these new challenges.  As the zombie reengage with the High Performance Team, often they will dedicate a significant amount of time and effort, they need to search for alternative techniques and skills that will allow them to meet the biz needs in a more efficient and sustainable manner.

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