Confront the Mediocre

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Many builders cope with mediocre performers by creating less confrontational means of removing them.

July 01, 2002

 

Bill Carpitella

Many builders cope with mediocre performers by creating less confrontational means of removing them. At termination, many managers refer to a nebulous “restructuring” or “change in direction.” But the business and the employee both lose with this approach.

The business loses by carrying a substandard employee longer than necessary. The employee is robbed of the opportunity to correct a problem and grow from the experience.

We need to realize that being honest and straightforward with our developmental feedback is key to being excellent leaders. Behind closed doors, CEOs have told me time and again that certain employees were C players. They talk to those employees after a performance appraisal, and the employees are confused because all previous feedback had been good.

Offering ongoing feedback regarding performance and organizational fit is one of a leader’s most important tasks. We want to avoid legal scenarios regarding wrongful discharges or, worse, discrimination charges filed through courts or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

When it’s called for, give honest feedback — both good and bad — to employees. And do your business a service. Continue to upgrade your organization by removing the bottom 10%, but do it with compassion, honesty, documentation and speed. You owe it to your company, your employees and yourself.

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