Don’t Drag It Out

At one time or another, every manager struggles with how to handle a weak employee. Perhaps she has adequate technical skills but lousy interpersonal skills. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be there and creates a toxic environment complaining about everything that is awful about your company.

Make a decision. If the pros don’t measurably outweigh the cons, take action. Whatever you do, don’t drag it out.

This isn’t easy, especially when the person has positive attributes that everyone recognizes. But the damage caused by delaying the inevitable is bad for everyone: for the employee, for the co-workers, and for you.

Here is a checklist of issues to consider as you go through your decision process:

+ If the person’s work is very good but interpersonal skills are awful, consider whether improvement can happen with some focused coaching.

+ What kind of impact does this person have on the rest of the team? If it is negative, again, is he coachable?

+ How much time do you spend defending or bailing her out?

+ If the person is client-facing, find out what they think about this employee.

+ Are there any exceptional characteristics that significantly overshadow the negatives?

+ What will the short and long-term impact be if he stays? If he leaves?

+ What will the impact on morale be if she stays? If she leaves?

If you think there’s hope, great. Take the action and provide the coaching so the employee can improve. If that doesn’t work, though, you’ll need to go to Plan B.

When you decide that it’s time to part ways, don’t linger. Prepare for the departure with the fewest organizational disruptions and line up everything before having the conversation.

Exit conversations are never easy. Do your best to diffuse your own emotions and engage in a dignified conversation. Remember, although this is no longer a good fit for your company, it doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t a bad person.

Have a great day!​​​​​​

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