In this gripping episode of the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, host Scott McCarthy delves into the challenging aspects of leadership, discussing how to handle team members with poor attitudes, address missed deadlines, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

From observing the impact of negative attitudes on team productivity to advocating for realistic deadlines, Scott McCarthy provides valuable insights and strategies for leaders seeking to excel in their roles. Listeners are introduced to the story of JC, a group leader who is eager to find ways to help his superiors embrace strategic thinking and proactivity for the long-term success of the organization.

The episode also sheds light on the often-blurred boundaries between work and personal life due to constant connectivity. Scott McCarthy stresses the importance of respecting work hours, avoiding after-hours messaging, and understanding the diverse obligations that team members may have outside of work. Discover effective approaches to maintain a healthy work-life balance without compromising productivity.

Moreover, Scott McCarthy addresses the task allocation challenge, emphasizing the need to align tasks with individual strengths and interests, while ensuring a balanced workload within the team. Learn to leverage cycles of peak and off-peak periods to optimize productivity and foster a thriving work environment.

Lastly, Scott McCarthy offers effective strategies for dealing with high-performing team members who exhibit negative attitudes, recognizing the impact they can have on the team’s morale and overall success. Discover tips for encouraging a positive mindset and promoting a cohesive team culture, while prioritizing the needs of the entire team.

Join us on this thought-provoking episode of Peak Performance Leadership as we explore practical solutions to common leadership challenges and empower you to lead your team towards peak performance. Don’t miss out on valuable insights that can transform your leadership approach and drive success in your organization.

Listen to the full episode now on the Peak Performance Leadership podcast or visit our website to learn more about our Leader Growth Mastermind program. Get ready to take your leadership skills to new heights!

Timestamped Overview

  • 00:05:36 Time lines drive workplace imbalance; leaders must advocate for more time and resources to achieve goals.
  • 00:08:41 Respect work hours, delay send emails, balance.
  • 00:11:16 Superiors are to be proactive, not reactive.
  • 00:16:16 Quickly delegate non-ideal tasks, solve through strategy
  • 00:18:30 Multitasking: prioritize tasks, stress deadlines, generational familiarity.
  • 00:24:36 High performers with negative attitudes get fired.
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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

Episode 2/29 of the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. I’m Solo again, and I am answering your questions. That’s right. It’s all but your questions today. Are you ready for this? Let’s do it. Welcome 1, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership podcast, A weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the 3 domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, And leading your organization. This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian army officer with world class guests bringing you the most complete podcast of leadership going.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:50]:

And for more, Feel free to check out our website at And with that, let’s get to the show. Yes. Welcome, 1, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. It is your chief leadership officer, Scott McCarthy, and thanks again for tuning in. It’s so great to have you here. And if this is your first time checking out the show because, apparently, We got a whack of new listeners lately. Welcome.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:23]:

Welcome to you too. It’s great to have you here. And this week It’s a little bit different for multiple reasons. 1st off, my apologies. This episode is late, And the reason for that is simple. I was doing some leader self care last week. I was on holidays. And you know what? Sometimes we just kinda take care of ourselves.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:46]:

Right? And, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get ahead of the curve like I wanted to with the shows. So I just said, you know what, Scott? No. You’re gonna take care of yourself. You’re gonna lead by example to the audience and Show them that sometimes it is okay to push things off when it is time for you to take a break And spend it with those you love the most, I e, my 2 boys. So that’s what I did. So if you’re looking for the episode last week And you’re just hearing it now. My apologies, but at the same time, I hope you learn take the lesson from this is that It’s okay. It’s okay to take a break.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:30]:

It’s okay to walk away for a bit because end of the day, Is it gonna change my message? No. In fact, my message is getting stronger to include this Heard of it. It’s okay to take a break because you know what? You feel more rejuvenated. And when I was on my 2 week vacation, that is exactly how I felt. I felt rejuvenated. I didn’t look at my emails. I didn’t look at my chats. I didn’t do a whole lot other than be present with my 2 boys, Spend time with my wife and do the things that really I enjoy.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:08]:

So first off, thanks for understanding. 2nd off, I hope you’re able to do the same or were able to do the same. Alright. So this week, we are diving into questions. I pose these questions In our free Facebook group, and that is leadership skills for managers to be leaders, not bosses, Feel free to check it out. The link is in the show notes, and the show notes for this episode, of course, is leedomposs.comforward/ 229-229. Alright. So before we really dive into the questions that I’m gonna tackle here today, I just wanna throw out the disclaimer.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:54]:

Right? I’m not going to be able to give you a direct answer, and you’re not going to hear A direct answer to a problem that you may or may not have right now. And the reason for that, every situation is Different. And without knowing, you know, intimate details of the situation you’re going through, which, of course, I don’t get with the Facebook responses. It’s okay. But what I am going to do is provide you some strategies for you to look at and look through so that you can then apply these to your situation. Okay. So that is the disclaimer for this show today. And first off the bat, I got a few questions.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:45]:

Few people who are struggling with work life balance around their workplaces and staff retention. And What I’m gonna say to that is is that we have to understand as leaders is that sometimes there is no balance. And the reality is I even question right now whether or not work life balance is a thing. I’m believing, and I am personally starting to go with the ideology. There is no such thing as work life balance. It is life balance. Work is part of life, and life is part of life, right, if that makes sense to you. So how can we balance things holistically So that our individuals don’t get burnt out.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:36]:

And one of the biggest things That cause these burnouts and the imbalance of the balance per se is time lines. Time lines drive everything in your workplace, and you as the leader need to recognize whether or not You’re giving your staff enough time to achieve the things that they need to achieve. And if time lines are getting pushed down on you from your superiors, it’s your job as the leader To go and advocate for more time to get the things done. There are 2 limiting factors When we deal with a problem like this, there is time, I e, either how long it’s going to take Need to achieve something or, I e, when it needs to be done or and the second one is Resources. How much stuff do I need to have whether that’s people, equipment, money, contracts, whatever? How much of that stuff do we need to have in order to achieve what you want done within the time line you’ve set? One of those 2 things is your limiting factor. That is what’s going to drive how you operate, and your job as leaders advocate For more of that, to enable the balance to kinda hit a equilibrium, to enable your Staff to basically not feel too stressed out, but rather feel like they’re supported And that they have the tools that they need to get the things done that you expect them to do. Now There are a few other things, of course, which go and disrupt balance, and that is, you know, working outside of hours. And one easy strategy as a leader is to respect the hours of work.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:41]:

We hear about this time in, time out. What defines the workday in this day and age with emails and Slack channels and Telegram messages, So on so forth, we are ever connected. And the argument is is do we ever even leave? Hence, why I kinda Go with the whole life balance. So you as a leader, you need to be cognizant of this. And it’s fine for you if You’re working late, or you like to work a bit later on something, or you don’t have responsibilities at Home. So you need to recognize, though, that’s just you. Your teen may have children. They may have adults or grow or parents, excuse me, or grandparents, Or maybe they have a spouse that needs to get taken care of or even a pet for god’s sakes.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:41]:

You know what? They’re just as important to many people out there. The moral of the story is is that if you’re doing work and you need to send messages or you need to do emails, You yourself need to respect those hours of work too. So be mindful of that And do every effort possible to not send those messages outside of those hours because You’re actually going to enact as a catalyst for people to not have work life balance. If you can set up emails for them to, you know, delay send, I e, send at 8 AM the next morning, do that So the boom. They’re done. They’re out of your inbox per se, but in the hopper ready to go for tomorrow morning so that when your when your staff do come in And they’re ready for work. Suddenly, the emails from you, which actually were sent the night before, go out but within a reasonable amount of time. And my Final point about work life balance is to understand the times and have your team understand times when, You know what? You’re gonna be working a little bit longer, and during some periods, and other periods, you’re not.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:58]:

We all go through cycles. We all go through cycles where work is a little bit slower and where work is actually more demanding. So how do we leverage that? We leverage it by understanding if possible. Now understand This is not possible for every single job or team out there, but what I’d like to do with my team is The summer hours are generally slower. So you know what? I’m super liberal with them and leaving early, taking a bit longer lunch breaks, Cutting out Friday afternoons, you know, maybe around 2 or so. Anyway, rule of the story is this, Is that you can go and demand, you know, more out of them during the peak times, but you need to offset it with flexibility on the during the off peak times. And that is some strategies for you to really help with that work life balance. The next problem, I’ll call it, that was put out there is from member, I’ll call him JC.

Scott McCarthy [00:11:16]:

That’s his initials, obviously. JC says, I’m a group leader, and the leaders above me are consistently only putting out the fire in front of them. I see the issues coming, make suggestions, preempt them, but they only seem to be concerned with the fire in front of them. So, essentially, he’s looking at how can he get the superiors above him to look long term. And I’ll say a couple things here. But the first thing is is that you have to understand, you as a leader, this is exactly where you need to be, I e, where JC is actually thinking. He’s Thinking out long term, he’s thinking strategically. He sees things coming before they’re there, But instead of you know, he he’s wanting to be proactive, but instead, he and his team need to be reactive Because, essentially, his superiors are not doing their job.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:09]:

And that’s my take on the situation, of course, because they don’t have the full Details. What I’ll say to him is is this, is that you can only control what you can control. 1, you’re doing a great job. Keep up With the suggestions, keep up with informing people. Like, listen. This is how I see things. This is what I am Seeing, we should do actions a, b, c, x, y, zed, whatever. We need to get proactive eventually, I hope.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:45]:

And, yes, hope is generally not something that’s great, but In this case, we could only control what we can control. So we kinda have to hope that they’ll get it, that they will get What’s coming down? Now second thing is what I’ll say is do what you can do to preempt it. Do what you can do as a leader to take care of your team. Do what you can do to be preemptive in your lane. And if possible, you know, maybe suggest not just suggest, but take the initiative if you’re able to To preempt some of these things you are seeing coming down the line. If I see a bus coming towards me And I’m walking along the street. Well, I’m gonna get off the street. Right? So if you see it coming, do what you can.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:46]:

But the moral of the story is this. We often get frustrated with our superiors because we think they don’t see what we see. They’re firing fighting the fire in front of them, but at the same time, we don’t know everything that they’re going through. We don’t see what they see neither. So there may be things going on that you’re unaware that makes you think That they’re just fighting the fire in front of them, but the reality is that is where they need to be right now, not necessarily Out. But, again, that sounds a little bit contradictory to what I said earlier is that our job as leaders is to teach think strategically. I understand that. But this is kinda where not having the full situation doesn’t quite help me.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:36]:

So kinda taking that cold cold face value here, Kinda giving it, you know, again, every angle, some strategies. So my strategy to you, JC, is, 1, worry about what you can control. 2, keep doing what you’re doing, man. It is great. 3, take care of what you can take care of, And that is what’s going to serve you moving forward. Alright. So moving along, Going into a fairly lengthy situation here with the next one. So d MD wrote, I would say underperformance, but more to the point, how do you define true underperformance? If you have an intelligent, knowledgeable, long standing staff member who can wow staff with the thoroughness of our approach, But not understand that the importance of my deadlines nor bother to meet them.

Scott McCarthy [00:15:35]:

How do I approach that? I’ve already addressed it with her, We’re asking her what the answer is. She admitted that she gets attracted by something more exciting, so regularly leaves what I asked for Behind. She jokes that she probably has ADHD and has a chuckle. She is 60, been with the company for 32 years. I’ve been with them for 8 months, and I’m an experienced assistant director. I don’t think it’s appropriate to move into formal performance management. Other than the step other than step the task out clearly and check-in every few days, which seems A bit like nagging. I’m not sure.

Scott McCarthy [00:16:16]:

I just give the quick deadline stuff to the others in our team which isn’t ideal. So the first thing I would say to you is, yes. You’re 100% right. You’re not in a place where You need to go down the formal route of performance management. I I I fully agree with you here. And I I can feel your pain and that you got someone who is Good at their job, who is respectable, who is not out there to harm, It’s doing their best, but the problem here is is that they’re not really giving you what you need or want. So, Again, no solutions, but rather strategies for you here, and you’re actually doing one of them right now at the end Of your post is that, you know, give her tasks that align with her strengths. So what are those tasks that she gets attracted to? What is it about those tasks that she goes, oh, I like that, And drops the ones that you have given her and goes and does those first.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:34]:

If you can figure that out and align her task to those things, Then you’re gonna be hitting, you know, all the checks in the box for her right out of the gate. You know, something she’s knowledgeable and something she’s interested in doing, Something that you need done, so on and so forth. Now that being said, if it’s always the Gucci task, like the really good ones That people look forward to, and the rest of the team are, you know, stuck doing TPS reports. Of course, that’s not ideal, so you have to look at it Holistically. So that’s something to consider. The other thing to consider is the amount of tasks that you give her. So it seems like there are multiple things going on. Could you limit those? Could you scale them down to just the 1 thing you need done right now? Some people have a hard time multitasking.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:30]:

And when I say multitasking right now, I mean, having more than 1 task on their plate, that they need to get done. Now I’m not saying working on those tasks, you know, in a multitasking format or fashion per se, But rather knowing that I got task a I need to get done and I have task b that needs to get done. Task a needs to get done by Friday, whereas task We have 2 weeks. So in her case, it seems like she’s getting attracted to task b And getting that done, and then Friday comes around and task a is not done for you. So could you just give her task a until and wait until that’s done And then say, hey. Here’s a new one, and get then give her task b. And then finally is, You know, continuously stressing the importance of deadlines with her. Coming from her generation, this shouldn’t be a huge issue.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:32]:

So it’s a bit surprising to me That you are having this issue with deadlines because normally, people from that generation value deadlines and having things done on the right time. Now that being said, maybe your predecessor didn’t care. Maybe they didn’t Stressed deadlines. And you’re still new in this role. Right? You said yourself, you’ve only been with this company for 8 months. So maybe It’s just that she’s not used to this, and it’s gonna take time for her to understand that you Value people meeting deadlines. And if you stress that in more of a public format, Talking to everyone and making sure that everyone on your team is aware that this is something that you value, It is going to get to her. As you said, she’s intelligent.

Scott McCarthy [00:20:28]:

She’s knowledgeable. It seems like she’s easy to get along with, So she should be open and understanding to what you value and what you need from her as a team member. So DMD, I hope this helps you. So the final question for this episode comes from MG. And MG throws this out, which is definitely something I hear about quite often. And she asked how to tackle those who have Negative attitude in the team but are very productive as well. This is a complex Situation. Like many, but this one is very complex because productive people get looked at with high regard.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:22]:

However, negative people get looked at with low regard. And I would suggest to you that the productivity aspect here overrides the negativity, and we need to get away from that. Now that being said, my initial recommendation to you is not gonna be to Have them fired or removed. But that could we could end up in that way. I mean, I’ll I’ll get to that in in due course. What I’m gonna say to you is try to find a way to increase positivity around this person and Get that person to talk about things in a more positive light. You’re like, okay, Scott. Great.

Scott McCarthy [00:22:10]:

How can I do that? And basically is not necessarily really calling them out on their negativity, But asking general questions that will lead to positivity. So if they come to you about a situation, Oh, this stinks. We can’t do this. There’s problems here, etcetera. Look at them go, well, what’s the good out of this situation? Because every situation you see will have a positive aspect to it and negative aspect to it. If this person focuses Predominantly on the negative aspects to a situation, get them to talk about the positive aspects of that situation And push that on them. And over time, you may get them to turn around. And I say, meh.

Scott McCarthy [00:22:59]:

Some people, you just they just this is just how they are, and you have to accept that They’re not going to actually change until they want to change, and that’s a big point here. So moving on, what are the pitfalls of having someone with a poor attitude But but is a good performer on your team. And what I’m gonna suggest to you is you don’t know the cost That is going on in your team right now due to this person’s attitude. Dude. And what I’d recommend to you right away is just observe. Observe how the rest of the Team is responding to this person, how they’re operating around this person, how Things are going when this person is involved. And if you see a huge drop in individual’s productivity When this negative person is involved with the other team members, then You don’t understand the cost of having that person on your team. There are way too many stories of Negative high performers, drowning teams, crushing teams, Nosediving organizations because their attitude takes the rest of the team down And took the organization down with them.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:36]:

On the contrary, there are also a high number of examples of People like that, high performers with negative attitudes who end up getting fired. Why? Because their attitude did not reflect the values of the organization, and more importantly, the cost that that person Was costing the team was too great in comparison to the productivity that they brought in. K? So how to tackle this person? Try to indirectly get Then thinking more positively by asking them those generative questions that would should Spark them to look at the positive side of a situation, not the negative side of a situation. You may even have to have a conversation with them And let them know that they’re coming across in a very negative manner, and you need them to start looking at things in a more Positive manner. This is a tricky situation, MG. I really do hope, and I would love to hear back from you On how it goes, I hope it goes well for you, but you do need to traverse this carefully. Okay? These negative people have a way of pulling others down with them. And what I suggest to you is that the rest of the team is just as important, If not more important, actually, than this 1 individual.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:11]:

And that’s it for the questions today, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for tuning in. Just a reminder, you know, we do have our leader growth mastermind where we talk about these situations On the daily and weekly face to face via our our our video conferencing. And if that’s something that’s interesting to you, you know, And what is the mastermind? I should answer to you. It is an accountability group that enables you to Continuously learn and sharpen your leadership skills so that you can show up for to be the best leader for yourself, for your team, and for your organization. So if that is of interest to you, go to lead.comforward/mastermind and check us out. And if you got questions, Just drop me a line. I ain’t got no issues answering questions.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:04]:

Again, lead don’t boss.comforward/ Mastermind. And I hope you tune in. I hope you are subscribed to the show. If you’re not fully subscribed to the show, do it. Do it now, And you can do it easy at leedomposs.comforward/subscribe, and that will make sure you don’t miss another episode just like The episode that’s gonna come out right after this one with former US Navy SEAL, Larry Yatch. We’re gonna be talking about Management and being managers, not just leaders. So I hope that piqued your interest. Anyway, till next time.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:44]:

Remember as always, lead, don’t boss. Take care now. And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting the Peak performance leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast and know that’s not leaving a rating and review? It’s simply helping a friend, And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them if you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate Their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization. So do that. Help me, help a friend, win win all around, and, hey, you look like a great friend at the same time.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:31]:

So just hit that little share button on your app, and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone That you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more. There’s always more lessons around being the highest Performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe? Subscribe to the show via moving forward leadership .comforward/subscribe. Until next time, leave. Don’t boss, And thanks for coming out. Take care now.