I knew a guy once, and maybe you did, too. He came in late. He left early. His output was consistently lousy, and when the chips were down, he was never the guy tapped to stay late.
But boy, did he smile a lot.
According to new research, there’s a good chance that guy really was lazier and happier than me (and you). Leadership IQ examined 207 companies that had kept very close tabs on employee performance and engagement. And what they found was that in 42% of companies, the underachieving actually do skate by. As Leadership IQ’s CEO explained to the WSJ:
‘Low performers often end up with the easiest jobs because managers don’t ask much of them,’ he said, so they’re under less stress and they’re more satisfied with their daily work lives.
Meanwhile, dedicated and conscientious workers end up staying at the office late, correcting the work of the low performers, and making sure clients or customers are satisfied. This pattern breeds frustration and disengagement in the high performers—and perhaps ultimately drives them to seek work elsewhere. ‘They feel stressed and undervalued, and it starts to undermine the high performers’ confidence that the organization is a meritocracy,’ said Mr. Murphy.
Interestingly enough, the study suggests that low performers may actually be oblivious to their own inadequacy (or at least, they’re smart enough to pretend). And on the plus side, at least they weren’t whining all day like the employees who stayed late, again. I mean, c’mon people. I got all my work done already, and I came in at noon!
[Image Feet Up via Shutterstock]