Much as we mention in Chapter 4 of Contagious Leadership, micromanagement is not for every employee and most dislike it, but there are times when it’s appropriate. However, if you’ve micromanaged that problem employee until you are blue in the face and no performance improvement has taken place, it’s likely time to let them move on and “grow elsewhere”. How do you know when that time has come? Here are three key behaviors that will be a sure tip off:
Merely “not getting it” is not the same as demonstrating no interest. If she wants to improve, an employee might try different ways to make changes, and even if those don’t quite meet the results you’re looking for, you can see her passion for improvement and efforts in the right direction. “Demonstrating no interest” looks more like insanity: “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” despite your feedback that said “things need to change and here’s how”. If an employee is demonstrating insanity and shows no passion, no real interest in your feedback, and no change in performance, and this issue is critical to their job security, then they may have quit but forgotten to tell you.
Adults learn in different ways and because of that, there will be times when you must repeat your instructions verbally, visually, or in writing, using technical terms or lay language, or perhaps via email, phone, and face to face. However, if you have repeated your instructions or feedback for improvement more than three times and in three different ways, generally speaking, that person is not going to improve and is not listening or interested in making any changes.
No one likes to hear excuses, least of all a leader trying to help develop a struggling employee. Sometimes excuses are actually mentions of valid barriers, but many times they are a way of bypassing responsibility and buying time until the inevitable. One method you can use in an early coaching conversation is to request that the employee list all of the excuses he or she foresees as barriers to his or her success. Once these have been cleared out or explained, if excuses increase and performance does not, it is your responsibility as a leader to again take interest in the growth of this employee and help him find that growth elsewhere.
An effective Contagious Leader, does not relish the chance nor look for ways to “free up employees” or, in other words, let them go, terminate them, downsize, right size, or otherwise end their employment. It’s not usually a fun task. Yet, it is a part of the role of leader and one that, in an effort to manage the business, as well as lead those you have the privilege of working with, must be taken seriously and conducted swiftly. An employee that really needs to grow elsewhere, that you allow to remain as an unproductive team member will infect the rest of those on the team, making the problem employee, in this case, negatively contagious!
Have a great Monday and of course, stay contagious!
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.