“If you have a bad apple on your team, is it better to try and salvage the person or just get rid of that person? How much time should I spend with this person?”
I was asked that by a department head at a leadership workshop who was frustrated with a staff person dragging her feet in getting things done and therefore dragging the team down.
I’ve coached several managers who truly believed it’s their job to try to “save” everyone – spending an enormous amount of time with poor or marginal performers to make them better. But, is that wise?
Not according to a very effective CEO of a health care company. She said:
“The top commodity a manager has is his or her time. And, if you waste too much of it on a lost cause, you’re turning yourself into overhead – costing the company money – rather than a profit center – contributing to the success of the organization.”
She suggests dividing your employees into three categories. Then evaluate where you spend the majority of your time and resources. Is it with the:
1st is Eagles: Those are your top performers who fly and soar – you know they are going to do well no matter what.
2nd is Robins: Those are folks who come to work and get the job done, but who don’t rise to the top. They are steady workers, who could add value.
3rd is Turkeys: They are poor or marginal performers who need to get better – or else. Unfortunately, they may be nice folks who no longer can keep up with the changing times or are in the wrong position for their skills.
How Do You Spend Your Time?
Many managers, perhaps including you, say a lion’s share of their time goes to the improving performance of their staff and that’s not good!
Smart Moves Tip:
A better approach is first to attract, hire and retain awesome people, to begin with – not just warm bodies. Then spend most of your time encouraging the eagles to keep soaring and developing the robins to become eagles. If you do have a poor performer on your team, then quickly decide whether it’s worth your time to salvage that person or help him or her to move on to a job that’s a better fit.
As a manager, who do you spend most of your time with – your stars or your turkeys? Are your stars getting the attention and the recognition they would like?
What’s Your Specific Challenge?
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