Especially in today’s economic conditions, every business needs to pay close attention to their team members to spot and eliminate one of the single largest killers of productivity and profits – “I’ve Quit but Haven’t Left Yet” Syndrome!

Just like any other ailment, this syndrome needs to be treated using techniques similar to that which a doctor might use to treat or avoid unhealthy conditions. Although there is not one diagnostic test to discover those who have succumbed to this deadly syndrome, there are a number of symptoms to keep your eyes on:

1. Rising Flare – the rising flare is someone who joins your organization and quickly rises by getting the job done. Eventually, like a firework or a flare shot from a gun, they stop taking on new challenges and begin to fizzle out – complacency replaces drive and eventually they focus on the easy work, slowly fizzling out but doing just enough to get by. This type of ailment is not always immediately recognizable and often very difficult to treat, however, it can often quietly cause significant damage. Like high blood pressure or early stages of diabetes, sometime a drastic change in lifestyle needs to occur to address the symptom and get to the root cause. In the case of these Rising Flares, sometimes your best approach is taking out the defibrillator paddles and shocking these people back into reality, providing a clear understanding of the negative results not changing will have.

2. Entitlement – this is a very serious symptom that is pretty easy to spot. Those that focus on taking and expecting rather than working and earning are like a flu that goes untreated and turns into pneumonia. Not immediately treating these symptoms could lead to an immediate worsening of the situation, spreading the virus to others in the same department or company. The best protocol to treat this symptom is first through coaching and counseling – rest. If this treatments fails to work, oftentimes you will need to bombard the offending organism with antibiotics, safely removing them from the area – sometimes including termination.

3. Hide & Seek – Those playing this game are the hardest to find in most organizations. By design these individuals make doing as little as possible an art, doing no productive work but staying busy at looking busy. No one likes to micromanage, however, these individuals often need a dose or two of reality to snap out of their state of confusion. Try posting their productivity (or lack thereof) numbers next to their peer’s numbers, creating a chart that monitors their recovery, or suggests another course of action.

4. It’s Not My Job – this symptom is like a low-grade fever that never goes away but often is a catalyst for the previous symptoms. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to all types of complications and long term illnesses. Last I looked on most job descriptions there is a warning label that states “Other duties as assigned.” Refer these patients back to the warning labels, with clarity on the side effects of not properly taking their medicine.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment to ensure prevention of these symptoms or their underlying illness. However, like a doctor treats the illness to make the patient better if possible, leaders must quickly treat the symptoms and underlying diseases quickly or the virus can spread throughout the entire organization. This takes experienced leaders who are properly trained on how to develop and apply the right treatment.