Q: I'm a commercial director at a large blue-chip organisation. I recently hired a guy in his thirties as a sales manager. I was hesitant about hiring him initially because I sensed his overconfidence might rub a few people up the wrong way. It turns out I was right: while he is a fantastic success commercially, he's a total disaster with the rest of the team. What shall I do?
A: Try to be sure in your own mind about two things. Is this man a disaster with the rest of the team because of their envy and resentment, or is it mainly his fault because of his arrogant manner? And if it's mainly his fault, is the damage he's doing to the commercial performance of the rest of the team beginning to outweigh his personal successes?
If it looks as if the net effect of this fantastic salesman is open to question, then you've two options - of which doing nothing isn't one.
You either bite the bullet and pay him off. Or you reward him in future not as a sales manager but simply as a superstar salesman. If that can be made financially and psychologically attractive to him, it's probably the one to go for. In the longer run, he'll almost certainly move on anyway; people as personally driven as he clearly is are always on the lookout for the next big thing. But you should obviously try to benefit from his exceptional salesmanship as long as he's doing much more good than harm.
Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. His book Another Bad Day at the Office? is published by Penguin at £6.99. Address your problem to Jeremy Bullmore at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.