“Emotional Vampires”
 by Laurie Gungel

“Low performers can feel like emotional vampires, sucking the energy out of everyone around them,” explains Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. “It’s a great misnomer that low performers’ major problem is technical incompetence. While some lack skills, most low performers are so identified because of a difficult attitude.”

A recent study by Leadership IQ found that when people work with a low performer:

  • 87% say it makes them want to change jobs
  • 93% say it has decreased their productivity.


  • 14% of senior executives say their company effectively manages low performers.
  • Only 17% of middle managers say they feel comfortable improving or removing low performers.

What makes someone a “low performer”?

6,241 employees were asked to list five characteristics that define a “low performer”. Their responses, listed in order of importance were:

  • Negative attitude
  • Stirs up trouble
  • Blames others
  • Lacks Initiative
  • Incompetence

So what?

In my February 19th presentation to the Freeport Noon Rotary, I talked about “Managing Workplace Negativity”, and reported that US companies lose about $3 billion a year to the effects of negativity in the workplace.

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March 2007