How Long Do You Carry a Poor Performer?

What if you had a poor performer on your team? How long is too long to carry them on the team?

What If?One of my ducklings is leading a project. He has someone who is not performing and we are 2 weeks from the go live date on the project. As a mentor coach, I have recommended he remove the person from the project. The individual is not committed to performing at a high level (based on performance to date) and their poor performance will impact the project significantly. What would you do? How much longer would you attempt to coach this person through their obvious lack of commitment? Would you remove them? If so, how?

This post is a response to yesterday’s post, “What if you have a Poor Performer?” When you have someone who is not performing, it is critical that you handle the situation with some urgency. Too many leaders, including the one I am writing about today, make excuses and justifications for the poor performance of those they are leading. That is not good leadership.

When you are dealing with an issue, you must do something different. You must see the problem from a different perspective then maybe the perspective you were at when you made the decision to select this leader or when the project was assigned. Don’t expect that the problem will go away without your intervention. Without you making some hard decisions about the project and those who are handling the project, including and especially the project leaders. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Albert Einstein

“The significant problems we face today, can’t be solved at the same level we were at when we created them.”

Too many times Novices and Experienced Leaders alike will put off making the hard decision because they are afraid of hurting the person’s feelings. They are afraid the project can’t possibly go on without that individual. That is just not true. Ultimately, it is critical that you make leadership decisions that ensure the best result for the project and  the people or persons. And sometimes removing the person is the best result for both. Fear will kill your leadership. Being fearful to make a decision will put your leadership in question. Leaders make hard decisions. Period.

When success is in jeopardy, assess the situation, identify potential options and solutions and make a decision. Yes, there is wisdom in the multitude of counsel. Yes, you should consider all the players, and the expected outcome of the project. But don’t let the project fail because you are afraid to remove a poor performer (project leader or otherwise). If you are two weeks out from the deliverable date on a project and the leader is the primary reason the project may not be successful – FIRE the leader and get someone else in there that can help the project be successful.

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What If You Had a Poor Performer?

What If?What if you had a poor performer on your team? How long is too long to carry them on the team?

One of my ducklings is leading a project. He has someone who is not performing and we are 2 weeks from the go live date on the project. As a mentor coach, I have recommended he remove the person from the project. The individual is not committed to performing at a high level (based on performance to date) and their poor performance will impact the project significantly. What would you do? How much longer would you attempt to coach this person through their obvious lack of commitment? Would you remove them? If so, how?

I am looking for serious advice. I will add an aside tomorrow morning with my recommendations for novices and experienced leaders. Today I am looking for your input. Help me help my young leader. I look forward to your recommendations.

What If…They Don’t Like Me?

What If…They Don’t Like Me? So many would-be leaders struggle with this question of how people feel about them as leaders. “What if they don’t like you? Is that so bad?”

Before I get into the meat of what I want to say on this topic, let me give one disclaimer – I believe that the principle of liking is critical to the success of leaders. In other words, people do business with people they like (that’s the principle of liking according to Robert Cialdini). Consider this statement about the Principle of Liking I found at Influence People, “actually, it may surprise you to learn that the key to the liking principle isn’t so much about getting others to like us; it’s really about us coming to like them. Too often people are concerned with doing whatever it takes to get people to like them, failing to realize if they genuinely like the person they’re with, that person will sense it and naturally reciprocate.”

As a leader it is important that you are likeable, but getting them to like you or worrying about whether they like you is a waste of time. If you genuinely care about people, they will know it, even if they don’t like what you are doing or saying in a given moment or within the scope of a project. That being said, “What if they don’t like you?”

If as a leader you are moved or immobilized by what you think people think about you…you are dead in the water before you even get started. If your leadership is contingent upon them, and what you think they are thinking about you, they are leading – not you – and that’s not leadership.

What If…They Don’t Like Me? This question has nothing to do with leadership. It has nothing to do with results and accomplishing the tasks you may be working towards. Whether they like you or not, if you are the leader, you’re responsibility is to lead. You are not leading them to win a popularity contest. You are not leading to win their love and affection. If you are a leader, you will be leading with confidence, vision and purpose. You will inspire others and they will want to follow you. Your leadership should transform people and processes. Leadership is about influence and impact. And strong leaders have both qualities. It’s not about whether people like you…

For Novices & Seasoned Leaders: The question, “What If…They Don’t Like Me?” is birthed out of selfishness. It’s really not about the people…it’s about you looking at you. Stop and think about that for a moment. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but the fact remains, that when you ask this question, or you allow this question to swirl around your head when you should be leading people, you are being selfish. And leadership is not about you, it’s about the people who are suppose to be following you.