What to Do About ROAD Warriors In Your Office
We’re not talking Mad Max here, or Furiosa. The ROAD warrior we’re talking about here is a R.O.A.D. warrior, with the initials standing for “Retired On Active Duty.” This is the employee whose motto would be “Just in it for the paycheck.” This type of worker may technically be doing his or her job, but only by exerting as little effort as possible. Excellence is totally out of the question. If they do something well, fine. If they don’t, just as fine as far as they’re concerned. One ROAD warrior is a concern; when you have multiple ROAD warriors, your office culture has a serious problem. These people act as motivational black holes, taking zero initiative, and setting an utterly dispiriting example for coworkers with whom they’re not likely to connect anyway.
Jason Forrest, writing for Builder, says companies needs to fix a ROAD warrior problem, one way or another. He says, “I believe wholeheartedly that with enough coaching from their leaders, everyone will either be coached up or coached out. You don’t have to go around firing everyone.” He sees two things that should be done.
Forrest believes the ROAD warrior’s direct supervisor is the key to revitalizing the employee’s interest in the job. “People don’t quit on companies so much as they quit on managers,” says Forrest. A manager needs to invests enough time in developing a stronger relationship with a ROAD warrior to create a feeling of being cared about, supported, and empowered. This can, in turn, stimulate the ROAD warrior’s personal loyalty to the supervisor and thus a desire to excel.
Second, Forrest points out that the best employees feel a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers, and a ROAD warrior’s relationships need to be strengthened. He suggests team-building efforts that have the ROAD warrior needing to collaborate with others to accomplish an achievable goal — this gets the coworkers to work together, learn to depend on each other, and then cement their bond with a feel-good success.
If it all goes well, your ROAD warriors may find unexpected satisfaction in their jobs, and be great for the company. If it doesn’t, since no one really wants to be a ROAD warrior, the employee will probably wind up hitting the, um…well, you know.