Corporate wolves are difficult to recognize and are often mistaken for leaders. They appear to be everything you strive for in a leader because they are endearing, smart, tenacious, assertive, and aggressive. One significant distinction is that instead of using these qualities and skills to help their colleagues and progress the organization, they are solely concerned with their advancement.
They have little to no allegiance and can harm a person or organization when they feel threatened or exposed. As a result of their natural competitive inclinations, they frequently use nefarious and dishonest tactics, including intimidation, deceit, and slandering of their co-workers, in addition to harsh criticism and insults.
Wolves at workplace exhibit characteristics such as depression, ruthless aggression, and personal crisis. The wolf mindset is the attitude of being fearless, taking charge of your profession, and going for what you want. They have unrivaled confidence and don’t care about anyone.
But how do you spot a wolf in the workplace? That’s what this article seeks to address. We also share tips on the best way to deal with them.
Characteristics of a Corporate Wolf
The following characteristics can help you decipher a wolf at your workplace.
They have unresolved perceived grievances – Examples include resentment against the management or a co-worker, the perception of unfair treatment, and bullying, among others.
They go through a personal crisis – It should be no surprise that most lone wolves have gone through personal difficulties. A contentious divorce or custody dispute, money problems, or drug or alcohol use could be among them.
They experience depression – Most wolves go through mental health problems, depression being one of them. Depression might cause someone to believe that using violence or other uncouth means makes them feel better.
They are ruthlessly competitive – The merciless competitiveness of these wolf-like individuals makes them use cruel tactics, such as threatening, slandering, manipulating co-workers, and openly criticizing and insulting others. Sadly, people who fall prey to these strategies ultimately quit the company, and the wolf keeps advancing within the company with little competition.
They are not team players – Corporate wolves prioritize their work, disregard team duties, and struggle to work effectively with others. They rarely offer assistance during team meetings and refuse to participate when the team is working under pressure and needs more support.
How to Deal with A Wolf at your Workplace
A wolf can affect a company’s productivity, primarily if you work as a team. The following steps will help you deal with a wolf in your team.
Maintain an Open Mind
Be careful to avoid drawing conclusions before you thoroughly investigate the situation. The lone wolf behavior can be attributed to a wide variety of factors.
Plan a one-on-one Meeting
You owe your colleague a one-on-one meeting where they can explain the situation. Start by speaking in a warm, encouraging, and sincere manner. You might find that they have a personal issue that keeps them from focusing on their work, are unsure of their job, lack confidence in their skills, have a role that is not a good fit for their strengths, or even feels isolated from the team.
Your objective is to learn more about your colleague’s behavior. Learn as much as you can about them, including their interests, strengths, career objectives, and personal issues.
Re-define the Team’s Goals and Objectives
Review the team’s goals and objectives with the employee to understand if they can relate to actively supporting the company’s objectives. Check to see if they have a clear understanding of their roles.
The goal of this conversation is to ensure that the employee fully understands their objectives, roles, expected contributions, and the direction the team is heading.
Find a Potential Mismatch
You can find that the person has a poor job assignment and would serve the organization better in a different capacity. Understand what they like doing and explore the possibility of getting better service from them in a different capacity.
Things You Should Not Do to a Wolf Employee
Here are some things you should avoid doing to an employee who is a wolf at work.
Don’t Underestimate the Potential of a Wolf
Employees who do not perform well in teams dedicate more energy to their work duties than team players. These workers often produce a lot when given the freedom to thrive. Their high work completion, self-assurance, and determination benefit their companies.
People naturally think that somebody who drifts away from the team is lazy or less motivated for the team’s objectives. However, the individual may be a significant production hub or someone who fully accepts responsibility for their actions. Be careful not to assume that being a wolf is terrible.
Don’t Pressure them to work with a Team
Nowadays, collaboration is commonplace, but sometimes it’s overdone. Task-oriented people become bitter when forced to participate in committee decisions, task forces, and meetings that don’t add value.
Managers must carefully examine their projects and reject inefficient teamwork. Be selective and diligent in eliminating pointless teamwork; only collaborating when doing so will result in a return on investment. A wolf employee is far more likely to support the team when they see potential benefits.
Don’t Forget to Instill Constructive Group Skills
Getting along with co-workers is a minimum job necessity in any workplace. Wolves don’t have to enjoy working in groups but must learn strategies when teamwork is inevitable.
Your responsibility as a leader is to assist in developing the necessary people skills. You can do this by offering training, appointing a mentor, setting up coaching, or changing the incentive structures to reward both group and individual performance.
Don’t Micromanage Them
Wolves are independent thinkers who work best without someone watching their backs and interfering with their routine tasks.
The best you can do is check in from time to time and inquire about anything you’re unsure of. Otherwise, give them space to work, and you’ll realize they deliver.
Corporate wolves are probably present in every company, and they occasionally rise to positions of authority in organizations above individuals who lack their cunning tendencies.
Many well-intentioned firms and organizations unintentionally choose these wolves because they seem to fit the description.
Leaders of organizations need to identify wolves, not necessarily to fire them but to learn how to deal with them.