Makarios Consulting Blog

Players or Pretenders: Which do you have on your team?

I recently came across the following quote by leadership expert, John C. Maxwell:

In every organization there are those people who would rather act the part than do their part. I’ve classified these people as pretenders. Pretenders can slow an organization down, steal momentum, and damage relationships in an organization. They live for themselves. When an organization needs “we” people, the “I” people either change or get exposed. In order for a pretender to become a player, major changes in personality and thought patterns must take place. (Maximum Impact, Volume 2).

How true. We have all worked on teams with folks who put their own needs first, whose primary goal is to further their career at the expense of others, or who simply do not carry their portion of the load. Such individuals are bad enough when you are a fellow team member, but they are downright dangerous to you as a leader of the team. In addition to having a corrosive effect on team dynamics and morale, pretenders can keep you from reaching your financial goals, thereby endangering your business.

The importance of identifying the pretenders on your team and quickly intervening to change their behaviors or to give them an opportunity to succeed in another organization cannot be overestimated. Maxwell offers the following characteristics as a way to help you diagnose your players from your pretenders:

Players… Pretenders…
Have a servant’s mindset Have a selfish mindset
Are mission conscious Are position conscious
Deliver the goods Promise the goods
Love to see others succeed Are only interested in their own success
Value integrity Value image
Make the difficult choice Make the expedient choice
Finish out Fade out
Are teachable Believe they know it all
Persevere Give up when the going gets tough

It’s time for you to make an assessment—is your team made up of players or pretenders? If you have pretenders, what will you do to prevent them from hurting your business any more than they already have? Now is the time to act.

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