When It’s Time To Let Them Go

I believe a company shouldn’t have employees, they should have teammates. I also believe that leadership should invest time, money, and energy into their team. I believe leadership should focus on helping each team member see their value to the company or organization. I believe a successful company has a team that works toward common goals and is passionate about said goals. However, what happens when there is a teammate that just doesn’t seem to want to get on the winning train? How much investment do you do before you just cut team members loose? In the real world, not everyone will be as passionate, as goal minded, or as focused as leadership or other team members. So when is it time to let people go?

I believe leadership establishes the culture and atmosphere of their company or organization. If leadership is not passionate, does not have set goals that are shared among the team, or does not invest into their team, then the company will be mediocre at best. Leadership plays a critical role in creating an environment where the expectations are set and met. When leadership doesn’t take these important steps, apathy will set in, and a team will dissolve into separate islands. This is why it is essential for leadership to take every step necessary to be invested leaders.

But what if leadership is doing all of this and there are still individuals who won’t put in the effort or work ethic needed? First, it is important to take notice of these individuals right away. Do not reprimand these individuals, but rather work with them and alongside them to encourage change. Place them on a performance plan. Sit down with these individuals, express your concerns and observations, and explain what they need to change in their performance. Listen to what these individuals say. Don’t tell them what you want them to do, work together to create a plan that you can both agree on. It is important to give a voice to your team. If an individual is told to change, but isn’t given the opportunity to express themselves and what might help them make the change, don’t expect anything more from that person. Leadership is about one life impacting another. It is at these crucial times that leadership can come out on top with a winning team, or find themselves struggling to get anywhere. 

Once the individual is placed on a performance plan, and all expectations are laid out and agreed upon, continue to make observations of their performance. After a few weeks, come back together and discuss how their performance has changed or stayed the same. However, don’t be the first to speak. Ask the individual what they think. How do they see their performance? If they feel they have gotten better, and you feel they haven’t, this is a great time for a constructive conversation. Through the conversation determine if the performance plan has been followed, and determine if the individual has taken the necessary steps to improve. If leadership and the individual do not see eye to eye, leadership needs to take a firm, yet humble stance and express the expectations for the team member. It is at this junction decisions are made.

If the individual refuses to comply with the set expectations, it is time to let them go. On the other hand, if the individual asks for another opportunity to improve their performance, I would encourage leadership to allow the individual to prove themselves. Again, this is about creating and establishing a team environment. If someone is wanting to prove they can be part of the team, and are genuinely wanting to make improvements, it is leadership’s job to come alongside them, mentor them, and encourage them on their journey. However, if the individual refuses to make changes, let them go. They do not share the same beliefs, vision, or goals as the company. 

A company who invests in their team, creates a team centered culture, and works alongside their people will establish a successful company. Team members who refuse to get on board with the vision and goals of the company or organization, or who aren’t as passionate about the direction of the company, need to be let go. These individuals will create issues and hiccups in the overall success and performance of the company. However, do not just throw them out, give them the opportunity to make the changes to be part of the team. Work together to encourage and strengthen each team member in the company. And as always, never forget that leadership is about one life influencing another. Let your influence build up and encourage your team.

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