Posts Tagged ‘problem employee’

What Do You Do With A High-Performer Who Doesn’t Fit?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Your Number 2, your go-to guy, your second in command… Whatever you call him/her, he’s the guy/gal you know is going to deliver when the going gets tough. But what if he is pissing everyone else off around him? What if he’s the cause of many other people not performing as well as they could?

Would you rather have a team with one superstar and a number of other average performers, or a team full of above-average performers?

I can’t answer that question for you, but that’s what went through my mind as I was talking with a senior executive when he told me about his second-in-command. It seems his Number 2 was a real animal when it came to working with other people, and his management style was very different from what the boss wanted.

What do you do? I see three options:

  1. Replace him with someone that fits your company’s culture and your style – someone who can work well with others.
  2. Live with him, knowing that he’s getting things done and his collateral damage is the price you and your employees pay for that.
  3. Try to change him, molding him, asking him to work with people the way you’d like.

What would you do?

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The Problem With Okay Employees

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Problem employees, the ones that pretty consistently perform at a low level and make all sorts of mistakes, are easy to deal with. They either improve or you help them find a place where they can perform better (at least, you should do that). Almost any manager can deal with a problem employee because the solution is so obvious, and there isn’t much doubt as to whether they’re doing a good job or not.

Superstar employees are pretty easy to deal with, too.

The real problem employees are the ones that are “just okay.” You know, the ones that perform at a 5 or so out of 10. They’re the ones that are really challenging.

No one likes to let someone go, especially an employee who is not doing a bad job. And these “okay employees” are not doing a bad job – they’re just not doing a good job. That’s why these “okay employees” hang on – because no one wants to let them go, and most managers don’t know how to help a person like this perform at a higher level (I love a challenge like that, so let me know if you have one on your hands).

Most managers don’t like to be seen as someone who fires and slashes their way through a team of people. They don’t want to be seen as being unfair. Most managers would prefer to be liked, rather than feared and hated. And letting “okay employees” go can have that effect on a manager’s reputation.

But I ask you, is it fair to make your good, really good and superstar employees work alongside people who are just there to collect a paycheck? Is it fair to your customers? Is it fair to your business?

What isn’t fair is letting these “okay employees” drag a team or organization down. It’s not fair to not do something about them. Either do something to improve their performance (the first step and definitely my preference), or help them find a place where they can perform at a higher level (in most cases, that’s what they’d prefer, too).

The one strategy that definitely doesn’t work is hiding from the issue, with your head in the sand.

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