No one achieves success by working alone. Leaders excel working among followers who catch their vision and walk under their guidance to achieve their goals. In choosing the people leaders recruit into their teams, they seldom find that not everyone exhibits the corporate character that will help the team grow seamlessly.
There are rather unfortunate cases where some individuals display disgruntled behaviours like excessive complaints, negative jibes/comments, bad examples and corruptive tendencies. They are good at poisoning the minds of other team members against organizational policy and business processes by questioning the rationale of actions put in place to remedy problematic situations. These individuals manifesting these shades of behaviours are termed rotten or bad apples.
Every rotten/bad apple is quite infectious when left to associate with good ones. This means so long as a good apple is left with bad ones, it is a matter of time before they go bad. The decay of apples starts slowly and gradually. In no time, the signs begin to show everywhere. The same goes for troublesome or disgruntled employees. They start showing the sign of discontent gradually, by resenting small things or the actions of their colleagues. With time, their complaints gain loudness and it becomes an issue to the team.
A leader must continuously monitor the prevailing team spirit among its members and vigilantly identify key persons who display extreme sensitivity to corporate issues which have the potential of igniting negative responses. This is because bad apples hurt the good ones. Any individual identified as a rotten/bad apple must not be allowed to coexist with the good ones. As a first step, the leader may attempt to cure the ailment but if it becomes resistant to applied solutions, the bad apple must be removed instead of it being passed around.
The people in your team that you work with are apples and within them are bad apples. Examples of rotten/bad apples in organizations are staff who are unengaged, disengaged, rumour mongers, toxic individuals, troublemakers, lazy, unhappy, emotionally unstable, disagreeable, attention seekers, etc.