“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” -Oscar Wilde
“Slacker” is the term given for sociopaths, incompetents, and rotten apples that wriggle their way into a company.
The safest way to avoid slackers (and find stars) is to use the following checklist:
- Is he the type of person that always keeps his options open? Avoid people that can’t make commitments or stick to their commitments.
- Can he write clearly? Stars send documents that don’t need replies. Slackers send documents that require replies longer than the original email.
- Does he use punctuation or paragraphs? Does he use too many exclamation marks? “Exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.” Terry Pratchett
- Would you introduce him to your daughter?
- Does he hide behind fancy words? Jargon is the shelter of the incompetent and insecure.
- Does he scan the room with his eyes whilst talking to you?
- Does he praise you in private whilst avoiding public association?
- Does he have integrity? Warren Buffett says you should back people with integrity, energy & intelligence. Without integrity, the others are irrelevant.
- Are his actions, thoughts & emotions aligned? Does he live different lives?
- Does your gut say that he is not “right”? Listen to your gut.
- Does he have the gift of the gab? Be doubly careful.
- Does he stand behind his opinions or is he always hedging his bets?
- Does he make public spectacles of disagreements? (i.e.: cc’ing all instead of engaging in one-on-one correspondence)
- Does he mimic and kiss the ass of the most powerful person in the room?
- Is he consistent? Consistently friendly or consistently unfriendly are fine. Inconsistency is not fine.
- Does he put things in writing? Writing is a wonderful way of distilling ideas. If you can’t distil it, you don’t understand it.
- Does he prefer one-on-one meetings to group meetings? Corporate psychopaths tell everyone a different story. They like to divide and conquer.
- Does he always have an excuse for why he’s late? Stars arrive at the office at 7am without being asked. Slackers slouch in at 9, with a new excuse every day for why they’re late.
- Does he make excuses and blame others? Stars never make excuses; they just own up to their mistakes and fix them without a fuss. Slackers always make excuses and try to shift blame.
- Is he responsive? Stars reply to emails and messages quickly. Slackers are a black hole for communications, receiving but never responding.
- Does he take initiative? When given a task to do or a problem to solve, stars figure out the solution without asking twenty questions. Slackers show no initiative and expect the person assigning them the task to give them the solution too.
- Do you have to nag him? Stars finish jobs without having to be nagged or pestered. Slackers never finish anything unless they’re nagged and pestered.
- Is he a learner? Stars are always thinking of ways to learn new things. Slackers are always thinking about girls or cars or rugby.
- Is he hungry? Stars have a fire in the belly. They work hard even when no one is watching. Slackers tell you how hard they work but slack off when the boss goes home.
- Does he have energy? Stars never need downtime. Slackers always need downtime.
- Do conversations with him feel like effort or do they get to the point quickly. Stars get to the point. Slackers don’t have a point.
- Who are his friends? Birds of a feather flock together. If he’s friends with slackers, he’s a slacker.
When you find a slacker, cut him lose, no matter how indispensable he seems.
“Graveyards are filled with indispensable men.” -Charles de Gaulle