Do you have this leadership thing all figured out?
Once I thought I did, until I learned later that it is a constant figuring out. It is a constant learning process. Even when I had a great team that was completely working together and achieving its goals, just when it seemed to be perfection I would make some mistake (hiring the wrong person, cutting short a performance evaluation, delaying an important piece of feedback, failing to recognize a big effort) that would set the energy back. Things wouldn't feel perfect anymore.
But there are some things that have held up over and over. Some things that if we get right as leaders our jobs are SO much better, and our impact is deeper and longer lasting. These three things in particular touch almost everything that we do and, if done correctly (and often) can prevent us from having to let people go.
Each is a course-load in itself. Each could take a life-time to master. That's part of what makes leadership so rich, so exciting, and sometimes, so frustrating. The learning, and the need for learning never ends.
By doing these three things we stop bringing the wrong people into the team. We stop throwing work at people they aren't qualified to do. And we stop assuming that once someone is on board that they will run effectively and efficiently like a machine with minimal attention.
The need to fire someone is an organizational failure.
It is a lack of centered leadership. It is a loss of high performance leadership. It is a sad story that as leaders we must take very seriously, because the impact of letting someone go is profound.
When we as leaders do our jobs correctly, with copious amounts of strong recruiting, attentive and interactive training, and constant coaching, we find that there are very few people who truly need to let go.
Who on your team needs additional training? How will you help them obtain it?
Who on your team would benefit from more positive, specific coaching (hint: everyone).
Who is missing from your team and what are you doing to find them?
It's a full time job and some of the best work you will ever do.
-- Douglas Brent Smith