Writing modern blogs using old analogies can be dangerous. There are a lot of people who will see the analogy and just know the answer, or think they do. This week it’s about one bad apple spoiling the bunch. Yep, another old analogy.
But that bad apple is a team member and their caustic attitude is spoiling everybody’s work day. It’s like having one bad or painful tooth. Here you’ve got a whole mouth full of teeth that are perfectly good for biting into that wonderful apple sitting in front of you. But anybody who’s had a painful tooth knows that that one little tooth can ruin a lot of things.
Now, instead of thinking of that great steak you’ve got there you’re thinking of the pain you’re going to experience when biting into that steak. And, instead of the steak being a reward it’s part of the punishment.
That bad apple, or bad tooth, is ruining the entire party. And it’s ruining the steak. And the fact that you’re sitting across the table from someone whom you’ve really wanted to spend time with for quite a while now, it’s ruining this entire evening.
So they say that the human body has something like 20,000 parts but that one little tooth there is causing all the other parts to have a bad time. And the toothache is infectious. If you don’t do something about it - such as tying it to a door knob and yanking it out, it’s just going to get worse.
In fact, toothaches and bad dentistry can lead to all sorts of other health issues. Boy, I hope you don’t really have a bad tooth. I had one and it was all I could think about and I’m a huge dental chicken so I waited far too long. Fortunately I’ve got an awesome dentist and she worked wonders and now I don’t think about that one little tooth any longer.
But I also hope that you don’t have a bad apple or that one bad or caustic team member who’s ruining it for everybody else. The grumbly Gus who shows up and talks about how much he hates his job and how this is the worst job ever puts all the other team members in a lousy mood.
Pretty soon the issue that would have really been no big deal with that one slightly annoying customer now causes the team member to snap at that customer and suddenly they’re not going to come back. But they’re certainly going to leave a lousy review out there in the world of antisocial media.
Soon others who might consider patronizing your business are going to read that lousy review and it’s going to make them wonder. Do the team members at your XYZ company really say such unpleasant things to their customers? And if that negative team member is still making the other team members grumpy Guses as well, then the prospects will come in and see a bunch of grumps and realize that the unkind review was right. They better write their own negative review!
Like a bad tooth, perhaps there’s a way to fix ol’ Grumpy Gus. Perhaps there’s something troubling them at home or about the job or maybe their underwear is on a bit too tight because of too many donuts in the snack room.
Perhaps a frank discussion with ol’ Grumpy Gus might help you narrow down what’s bothering them and, perhaps you can fix it.
But it may also be a tooth that has decayed just too far and, truthfully, that tooth just needs to come out.
I have worked in a very positive place with happy people but then there’s the one person who is just always grumbling and moaning. And, pretty soon, people start identifying with them because they’re pretty vocal and the whole business goes right down the hill.
Maybe it’s time to see if ol’ Gus is working with your team. And it might be time for a filling. Or, perhaps, a door knob and a string. Because you don’t want that attitude to infect a happy work place. People will write reviews. And stop coming in.