Kill the Spotlight Rangers and TREAT ALL EMPLOYEES THE SAME defines the term “Spotlight Ranger” to be: “someone who only performs when a superior observes them; not a team player. From US Army Ranger school slang for a student who doesn’t give his all unless he is the one being evaluated on a mission – i.e. he only performs in the spotlight.”

Sadly, the military is far from being the only organization I’ve seen that suffers from Spotlight Personnel.  

Spotlight Employees are so common it’s scary.  Seemingly, every organization has that person, or worse, persons, who don’t contribute.  

Somehow, they skate by and continue to draw a paycheck. One of the main excuses I hear justifying non-performers is what I call the “nice” excuse.  

“That’s just the way they are…”

“Oh, I know Ted does nothing but surf Facebook all day and fall asleep in meetings, but he’s a nice guy.”  

“I know you can’t get Becky in HR to answer the phone, but she’s nice and has to have her hourly 30-minute smoke break.  I’m sure the questions about your benefits or kid’s insurance can wait.” 

“Sure, Frank has never typed an email in his life, but that’s cool. He’s a nice guy, and email is overrated.”

Nothing derails a team’s motivation faster than a non-contributing member.  Additionally, workload inequity leads to massive internal workplace drama and gossip.  

I’ve seen it too many times to count, and it’s an ugly truth, but we have to learn to separate business from personal.  

Where is personal accountability today?

Holding someone you are paying accountable for a lack of performance does not make you the bad guy.  

To the contrary, I’ll argue by taking steps to ensure you have a great environment and corporate culture; you will enamor yourself to the non-Spotlight employees who actually pull their weight each day.  

At this point, you are probably picturing someone you work with – someone who rarely pulls his or her weight and always seems to go home early—the person who, despite being a horrid team member, manages to fool management regularly.

Have them pictured?

The answer to the question you’re asking yourself is yes; they do it deliberately.

Why?  You won’t like the answer, but it’s because we let them.  

It doesn’t feel “nice,” but take a moment and separate personal from professional.

Once you do, you will realize people who willfully and knowingly draw a paycheck while watching others work are not “nice” at all.

Here is my advice.  Maintain standards and hold all employees to the same standard.  

Once you do, and once your employees know you will enforce the standards, it is incredible the difference you’ll see.  

Do what you can to make yours the best possible workplace.  Work doesn’t have to be painful.

Quit letting the lazy in your organization walk all over you and enforce the same standards for all.

Take notice of all the employees working diligently in the shadows and make sure to reward their contributions as well.