Everyone knows who's good and who's not good in the office. We know who is brilliant, we know who gets things done, and we know who has a great attitude. We also know who is slow, detached, or incompetent. The truth just comes out.
The smaller the company, the more demanding our development cycles, the more we depend on each and every person, the faster the truth becomes revealed. Even if a person isn't given the axe, it doesn't mean that others are oblivious to his shortcomings; all it means is that despite the glaring and obvious negatives, there is a reason to keep him around . It's not a matter of if, but when the inevitable occurs.
Attempts to conceal one's lethargy, disinterest, or incompetence are futile. We work with each other every day for hours upon hours. We traverse the land of cubicles, and each person's posture, facial expressions, and attendance is noted subconsciously. The dust of evidence inevitably becomes a mountain of truth. When one person is convinced, it is eventually shared to others. Others' suspicion materializes as well, and additional evidence pours forth. Soon, it is spread to the group at large and is maintained as an accepted truth.
At the bottom of it all is action and inaction. We know who is good and bad because of their actions, their words, and their output. Even the uncooperative guys are labeled accurately as "brilliant but lazy". The incomprehensible guy is respected as "I can't understand what he is saying, but he sure gets his stuff done." Actions speak lounder than words they say, but even the act of speaking is an action that forms the basis of our opinions. There is no concealing or embellishing our actions; they are what they are.
We know who is unhappy, incompetent, smart, or fast. We spend far too much time with one another to not realize. Knowing this fact, how will we choose to act now?
 Keeping laggards around and paying them the same amount of others (if not more) damages morale like none other.
Crossposted from my main blog