I am at a session with one of my clients and we are working through a problem that they have been struggling with for a while. It was a concern about one of their people. This person was not performing at the level that they should be and through our work with the People Analyzer (an awesome EOS tool), we determined the reasons for this. This was no surprise since this wasn’t the first time we were working through an issue about this person. The manager hadn’t been following the normal three “strike” meeting approach so the person of interest hadn’t been given all the information they needed to improve. We agreed that one of the concerns was how the person was being managed but that there were issues beyond this. I reiterated to the team that many times, people fail due to poor management (see my blog on The Three Reasons People Fail) and that they should make sure they were not the reason their team or team member was failing. As we began to dig in on the issue, things started to get heated.
The 3 Paths for Dealing with Any People Issue
After a break, to help cool things down, I explained that there are only three choices for any people issue. We just had to pick one and make sure we implemented that solution well.
- Do nothing – We could just deal with the situation and the fallout. I tell teams that if this is what we choose, then at some point, it probably makes sense to stop complaining about it. Many of my clients have tried to hide the fact that they are choosing this option saying things like, “Well of course, now isn’t the time”, “But I don’t have the time to do his job as well”, “Jim, this is a strategic decision you wouldn’t understand”. However you slice it, you are ignoring a problem.
- Work to fix the issue – Dig in and try to make the changes that are needed. Be the manager the company pays you to be and figure out what you can do to help to make this person a success.
- Fire them – If, in your heart, you don’t think they can get to the point where the company needs them to be, you have to have the tough conversation and let them go.
If You Want to be a Leader, You have to have the Tough Conversations
To be good to our people, we need to be open and honest with them. If, in our hearts, we can’t see them making it, we have to let them know. If they still think they can turn things around, I would give them the chance. As apart of this conversation make sure you own your piece of the problem and the solution. Next month, I will dive into the details of these conversations but just know that these conversations are seldom easy. They are however, essential to creating a great team.
- Email us to get a copy of the People Analyzer.
- Read Gino Wickman’s book Decide
- Read my post There are Only Three Reasons Why Employees Fail to think through this topic further