Dear Seniors, Recently I attended an interview in MNC for team leaders profile and I was successful in answering most of the question, but one of the questions turned into a long discussion, which could have been a trap and I gave my best to answer it in most effective way where as my experience is concerned. But I still think that it was not satisfactory to them (may be).

It is now that I have started applying for TL's profile and I want to know some expert advice from you seniors. Please advice what could have been an 'so called' ideal answer to it.

Question: 'Suppose you have 5 team members under you, one of them doesn't like you and he is actually very difficult personality to deal with. He hasn't been proactive in working or meeting targets either. Now he is stubborn on the fact that (supposing he has achieved 70% of the targets) he is done with working, he is completely satisfied with the targets he has achieved. He won't work anymore. He is ok if he is fired. But he just doesn't want to work! The senior management has told you that we cannot deal with any attrition at the moment so I'd better retain him no matter what.

Even if he is fired, he has huge influence on other team members and so sure if he has to leave the organisation then even rest of the team members will resign. His problem is only that he just don't want to work! he is not in good terms with you, and complaining that he is not getting enough leaves and nor has he got appraisals since long.... so what would you do if you were the leader of this team'

I gave best possible answer like I would communicate, I would talk to seniors, I would counsel, I would check his work history, I would check his output on revenue front, I will assure him best solution if he continues working towards achieving targets. I would go out on team outing to ease the tension. (All of these points in elaborated way ofcourse) But I did not think the manager was impressed at all.

Could you please guide me here, what if tomorrow I actually face such situation or if I am interviewed in MNC and have questions like this.

Thanks in advance.

From India, Mumbai
Recruitment/talent Acquisition, Career Counselling
P K Misra
Chair Professor And Head, Mhrm In Indian
+1 Other


This is a hypothetical situation. In any organization people are hired to work and they need to work to continue their jobs. In this situation where the person is not willing to work and has influence on the team and also you canít fire him then this is what I will do:
a) Make him SPOC (Single Point of Contact) for the team for various activities and make him feel more responsible.
b) Highlight his positive behavior in the team.
c) Find out what motivates him.
d) Develop more rapport with the other 4 members so that I have more influence on them.
e) Make him aware of his KRAs and KPIs and hold team meetings to make him understand where he is lacking. And do this tactfully by taking feedback from the members.

From India, Delhi

While option (a) and (b) are good suggestions but I did insist on (c) and (d) at the time of interview, (c) according to the manager was salary hike and leaves. He did not really say anything on (d) when I suggested. (e) according to him was, you have already done that, but he simply is not interested to work on where he lacks as he is fully satisfied with his 70% target achievements.
Thanks you anyways for your suggestions :)

From India, Mumbai

Hello Atul Sharma,

I don't think this is an hypothetical situation......have seen similar [though NOT exactly identical] situations earlier.

Hello Anonymous,

First of all, remove from your mind while you are in the Interview room that this is JUST an I/V question. Visualize that you are neck-deep into a REAL situation. Else your whole thought process goes off on a tangent [this applies to just about any such I/V questions].

Coming to the issue, give him a chance to TOTALLY express his distinct possibility COULD be that others have only been seeing the manifestations of his frustration. Either none have given any thought on the reason(s) OR he wasn't given a chance to express.

Usually once anyone gives vent to & drains-out his/her frustrating thoughts, it's only then that any corrective measures can really work [suggestions-a to c what Atul Sharma mentioned]. Else, in all probability, you are hitting your head against a wall. It's something like a glass needs to be emptied before you can fill-it again with whatever you want.

Incidentally, Atul Sharma's suggestion (d) WILL be counter-productive--don't ever try it when you haven't handled the guy who's the cause. You will be perceived more as a Manipulator than problem-solver IF you use it too soon.

Next, sit with him & begin to be a part of HIS this COULD turn-out to be tricky. I am sure none are 100% happy in any Organization....everyone usually have something or the other to crib about, including you in your present Company [pl note that these are issues that fall into a peculiar category "nothing that you can really highlight as a problem & crib about, but at the same time nothing that you can just forget too"]. The work gets done, but the hit is usually on the person's "Happiness/Job-satisfaction". DON'T run-down the Company here; only share YOUR experiences of a similar nature.

Hope you get the point.

The general human psychology is to share things/thoughts with those who have undergone the same or similar situations.......the belief being that only they can understand me well who have gone thru the same cycle [right or wrong is usually never an issue here].

Once you get the inputs on the reason(s)....could be official or personal.....then go to the next step.

Take him into confidence & follow-up with giving him the responsibility what Atul Sharma mentioned in Point (a).

What reason you give for this step to him depends on this guy's psyche--some like getting an ego kick when THEIR work contributes to other's success [in which case, you can say that 'MY success depends on you']. While some really don't care what happens to you but they wish to prove a point to those who caused him harm or insult or any negative feeling--IF this is this guy's psyche, then just tell him in plain & simple English [NO verbose].....'I want to prove ALL those guys WRONG & I want YOUR support in this'. From then on, it's no more HIS problem ALONE & he now knows he has support to give it a fair shot.

Take it from me--it works [for me years ago, the II choice worked with an employee--a technically super guy--who just wouldn't listen to anyone except the MD--not even to the GM [who, frankly, was a dunce & only carried his designation weight around] to whom I used to report--but it's ME who had to get work done thru him.

Hope this helps you to handle another I/V better.



From India, Hyderabad

Thank you so much Tajsateesh sir!
I understand that in his case behavioural perspective matters. It is not just the focus on solution but method of coming to the solution that is important. May be the best strategy for dealing with toxic behaviour of employees is prevention!

From India, Mumbai

In short, 'behavioural perspective' matters in just about anything that involves a human being I guess.
How else does one explain the different stands taken by people on the very same issue [just watch any TV news for an hour]?
And behavioural perspectives further depend on the individual's past experiences in life/career or similar situations.
If someone got away doing something wrong, his/her tendency is to try it out again & again UNTIL caught.
All the Best.

From India, Hyderabad

Hi TS,
I said this situation was hypothetical because as per my experience a personís job performance determines his progress in the organization. If someone is not meeting his KRAs then in most of the cases the supervisor has the option to issue warning letters and CAP (Corrective Action Plan) to that employee.
If a person is a high performer and has some behavioral concerns then I can understand the logic of retaining the employee but if a person is not even meeting his targets and assuming that you have done your bit to influence his behavior and motivate him, I think there is no point retaining that employee. And in my experience, I never encountered a situation where I was told to retain a poor performer after doing the measures to check his performance.
The options you have mentioned are a part of communicating and counseling which Anonymous said that have not worked.

From India, Delhi

I really wish life was so straight-forward Atul Sharma......seriously :-)

Having worked in different sectors & in different capacities, I have seen guys being promoted even when they are way below the bottom-most guy.......just because of connections or other unprofessional parameters.

I also recollect catching a guy red-handed with documentary proofs in a corruption case but yet he was let go without any issue......his mother was working in the MD's house as a house-keeper [it's another matter that this guy tried to do the same thing in the MD's house itself & both mother & son were thrown out then :-)].

And these were in private sector Companies....not in PSUs.

In a way, at least theoretically "a personís job performance determines his progress in the organization" is absolutely right. But in reality does a person's performance depend on JUST him/her alone without others' contribution?

When a Manager gives instructions, the rest are supposed to follow them. What IF some guys disobey [for whatever reason(s)].......not outrightly, but by finding ways to circumvent the orders? Such individuals do take the flak, but what about the manager's performance appraisal? He too has to take the flak for the whole teamwork's performance....and in such instances, how much can you say is to be attributed to HIS performance?

There are quite a few nuances in such issues.....many falling in the grey areas than as straight-cut black/white issues.

That's the reason why I usually lay such a stress on 'behavioural perspectives' in HR.......which I would relate to Human Relationships than Human Resources.



From India, Hyderabad

The Answer is very critical and depends upon situation and person to person.

As the question is half baked and only a part of it is known.

There are no reason given prior to the incident.

There are many cases that this can happen in an organization.What comes to my mind with experience I have is

- People have been asked to leave to cut down expenses

- There is no major career growth

- Employees do not feel empowered

- Proper Reward and reorganization is not in place

- There are issues with calculation of productive resources: Means scale of work being improper.

- A huge difference between finding self worth with the help of organizational worth( Brand)

- Challenges between what was promised earlier(Like promotion or pay rise) not honored

- Team belonging as work is scattered and not appreciated

If I am the organization leader,how would I cope up with this challenge

1. Let him as he is( Cannot change someone in days)

2. Do not try to coach,mentor or direct such employees.Such employees are prone to get personal and leave immedietly

3. Make a road map where each team members shares equal reposibility

4. Tie him with a buddy who would take care of him

5.Buddy can help him to cope up

6. Have out of office get to gather to understand the root cause.(Some family issues can be prevailing,an ailing mother,a broken relationship)

7. Appreciating only when he has done good work,false appreciation may spoil other team members as well.

8. Have some kind of tournaments to understand the spirits

9. Have internal (Go geter) Championships.Making each and everyone responsible for the task

10. The most important is DO NOT in any way let others know or him know that there an issue in the team.Be self motivated,crack jokes,take it easy- Focusing on the end goal

From India, New Delhi

I think such issues prevail because (more or less) contributing to money factor. Appraisals it is! I have heard of MNCs (and these are very well known in India) who do not give any appraisal at all even to a performer, for years together. This pile up as frustration towards company. Correct me if I am wrong.

There are also some facts that people are confident enough that a competitor employer may be ready to hire them.... which is why losing out on one job do not really matters.

Personal issues (as mentioned by respected kam27896 above) should not affect to the extent that someone decides they are ok if they are fired but they won't continue to achieve targets. Moreover influence others. This certainly does not looks like someone is having some issues on personal life front. This is result of frustration towards something that as an employer did not do which was expected.

Yes 'behavioural perspectives' does matter here and the remedy should lie somewhere between behavioural and performance itself.

From India, Mumbai

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