We all need help managing people. Categorizing how they operate might help. Here is a simple categorization to make you think about people in your business. There is a theory that organizations have 4 types of people.

The first three are: players (winners and natural leaders), spectators (good workers but can be intimidated), and terrorists (really smart people who have been wronged and prey on the weak).

You need to intercept the terrorists before they intimidate your weaker staff. What does that look like?  Scene setter: Young sales executive, Frank (Spectator) on completing his first quarter, 40% above target is poised to meet the sales manager (Player) for a catch up meeting in the conference room. Terrorist grabs Frank. “Going in to see the sales manager?” “Yes I am” says Frank, eagerly. “What are you going to say to her?” – “I’m going to ask for a new commission plan with higher targets!” “No you’re not” snaps the terrorist. He then proceeds to explain the dangers of optimism, the consequences of higher targets and basically in one short conversation the terrorist changes the shape of the agenda!

Spectators need to be groomed into Players. Terrorists were once Players who were let down, disappointed, not promoted. For some reason they have become bitter and although great performers, they have developed a dangerous behavior pattern which can be difficult to detect. If not policed, terrorists create negativity, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. By the way, the fourth category is corpses. They are not a problem, they just have to be moved on to a more appropriate company.