Recently, the world media was abuzz about a certain footballer who bit another on the soccer field, and seemed to have gotten away with it. After all, he has done that a couple of times before, and was never permanently barred from playing professionally (i.e. getting big paychecks).
The perennial question we as leaders or recruiters have to ask is, do we recruit and keep people who exhibit prima donna (or worse, antisocial and sociopathic) behavior just because they seem to meet corporate targets or are “star performers”, or do we recruit and keep only people who can work well with others?
When we recruit and then retain someone who may exhibit brilliance at work, but is antisocial and even sociopathic to other colleagues or even bosses, we may be sending the wrong signal to the other employees at the organization. We may be implying that it is OK to be nasty to others, as long as we are meeting top-line objectives. The other employees will feel demoralized, and the overall corporate objectives will deteriorate, and as leaders or recruiters, we will then have to contend with a toxic environment that offers no nourishment or encouragement to any and all people who remain.
Conversely, if we recruit and retain someone who exhibit good work ethics, an earnestness to learn, and show uncompromising respect to others, we are sending the right signal to the entire organization that respect for each other is paramount, and that corporate objectives are to be met together as a cohesive and collegial team. In such an environment, we are working together as a team of experts who respect each other, no matter what individual tenure may be.
As leaders or recruiters, it is up to us to always reinforce the message that we are looking for team players, not faux divas. No single person is that brilliant, and summation of all employees who play and work well together will outperform any external competitor. Arrogance has no place in a modern, real-time organization, and humility goes a long, long way.