How to Identify the “Working Dead”

What’s your worst nightmare? We here at ThinkTank have a genuine fear of “The Working Dead,” AKA teams or team members that go into a zombie-like autopilot mode. We understand the crucial value of buy-in and hate the idea of losing the engagement and passion that makes our business tick, which is why we’ve compiled this cautionary list for you.

Whats His Name. No one expects you to memorize everyone’s names, especially when working with a big team. But, if you have been in management a while and still draw a blank on some of your employees’ names, it could be a red flag. It’s possible that this teammate  is just shy. Worst case scenario is this person has lost their passion and is checked out.   Even if they prefer to stay under the radar, a good employee will arrive with ideas and insight on their projects. Grounded communication is crucial to working effectively, so your team should be regularly following up with you, as well. Next time you are managing a meeting, take a look around and see if you can identify everyone present (or at least recognize them). If you can’t, approach that person after your next meeting and open the door for a quick meeting over coffee or a beer. 

Auto-Reply. The auto-replier has ideas, but rolls them out repeatedly instead of crafting new ones. Their insight is predictable and their solutions are unoriginal, almost to the point that you wouldn’t be surprised if their emails were just an auto-reply (hence the nickname). Even if our auto-replier does their work, their empty contributions indicate that they are not staying current within the organization and industry either because they aren’t putting in the effort or don’t have the resources to do so. In any case, the auto-replier must be addressed so that all team members are working on the same game plan.

Hot Potato. Everyone refers work to a colleague from time to time, but it seems that the hot potato’s greatest strength is delegation.  Whether it be through email or in-person at meetings, the hot potato avoids projects like a dodgeball, indicating fuzzy lines of responsibility and lack of communication in the department. Instill the help of a dedicated project manager and a high-tech platform like ThinkTank in order to get everyone up to speed on what they should be doing and hold your team accountable. 

Yes-Man. This character in the “Working Dead” is often hardest for an employer to spot due to their charm and positivity. By constantly agreeing with their manager, they offer validation and support that boost confidence. However, the yes-man can easily fall into an autopilot mode of just nodding, rather than questioning the status quo and  contributing their unique insight. A platform like ThinkTank can collect helpful feedback from every team member, stopping the “Working Dead Apocalypse” in its tracks.