James C. Collins, an author and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth wrote in his book “Good to great”, that a high-functioning organization depends on “getting the right people on the bus.” Getting the right people on the bus may mean letting go of the wrong people on the bus.
I am not a fan of lazy, energy sapping employees and in my years of managing people I have had to let a few persons leave due to the impact on the rest of the team.
However, letting people go during an organizational crisis only does not completely solve the problem, even though that may be the easiest route.
I was at an Executive Women Network seminar where Dr Sam Jonah spoke about how he didn’t fire a French teacher whom everyone felt the need for him to leave, it turned out retaining him, kept the name of the school in the top five schools list for the period the teacher was reprimanded and allowed to stayed on.
Most corporate problems are so deeply ingrained that they continue even after the supposedly wrong people leave.
A more sustainable solution is to work on the mindset that underlie the supposed poor performance.
Employee performance almost always improves, once they understand why they have to do what they do.
So instead of giving out instructions on what has to be done, a leader should have a guided discussion that will bring out the problem and what could be done to arrest the problem.The leader in this case must also be ready for honest feedback which may include criticism.
Arbinger institute’s “Leadership and Self destruction” (one of my favorite reads in 2017) – talks about seeing beyond ones’ “righteous” self and acknowledging that others have cares,needs or may be struggling with something totally outside the work place. This by the way does not mean allowing yourself as a leader to be manipulated.
It is absolutely essential that we see employees as people, and not just vessels to carry out instructions. Employees respond better when we focus on their strengths, they automatically go the extra mile to make up for their weakness.
Seeing beyond ourselves and having an “outward mindset” (another good read from Arbinger institute) makes us open for honest feedback, it makes us focus on how we can add value to others and not ourselves, it makes us feel less victimized and we take full responsibility for our actions.We end up adding more value to ourselves by having happier employees!