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Sometimes You Have To Make The Tough Call About A Team Member

Have you ever heard the saying, “ Sometimes you just need to rip the band aid off”. Oftentimes, this saying is very true. But how many times do we, as managers, push this saying aside? How many times do you look at an organization and wonder why they are not making the tought call? What you see is that when the tough calls (or the band aid) are not activated, those decisions can have larger consequences than if the band aid was ripped off.


One of the most disruptive phases for an organization can be when the Team is not functioning correctly. Now, there could be many reasons for why the Team is not functioning. I like to discuss the concept of a wheel, kind of like a pie chart, that comprises the organization’s DNA. The Wheel is divided into four categories and each category consists of parts that are critical to the overall functionality of the organization.


  • Culture - Does your Team communicate, how does the Team work together, what is the office environment?

  • Strategy - Do you have a strategic plan that includes organiztional strucuture, business and marketing strategy?

  • Values - Do you have support mechanisms in place to support current leadership, to support new managers and growth opportunities for Team Members?

  • Vision - Does your Team know the organization’s mission statement and the team member philosophy...do they know who they represent?


Oftentimes, a Team is out of sync due to one of the categories on the wheel not functioning correctly, but sometimes the wheel is not the problem. In this case, you as the Manager, will have to look at the Team Member in question. This is where the hard decision of being the manager comes into play. If, after exhausting all options through the HR Department and including coaching of the Team Member there is no improvement, you will need to make the decision to end the working relationship with the Team Member.


This is where managers and organizations oftentimes slink back and try to give the Team Member one more time and then one more time in a prolonged delay. Now, I am all for coaching an employee to help them succeed, but there are large consequences to the organization as a whole when you leave a Team Member in that is causing disruption after you have exhausted your avenues. I have done this myself in my career. You do it for many reasons from compassion to belief they will change or due to fear of the unknown in a litigious socieity. Whatever reason you are not ripping the band aid off and making the decision, it’s having a dire affect on the organization and on the culture in your organization.


When you let it just sit and not make the decision as the Manager, you will see consequences from your decision. You will see further animosity from others and further conflict that results in continued decrease of morale. Eventually this can bleed over into your external interactions and sadly, see a stagnation or even regression in growth and revenues.


My point is that when the time comes where you have to make that difficult decision. Remember these tips:


  • Assess the situation

  • Analyze

  • Discuss with appropriate senior team members

  • Make your decision

  • Activate


There will be times when your heart or fear gets in the way and that is ok . Heart and compassion are two great traits of a leader. But don’t let them hold you down in a decision and don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from making the right decision. It is ok to feel the emotions or to feel the fear, you are human after all, but don’t let it stop you from ripping the band aid off when needed. The rest of your Team will Thank You when appropriate.









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