So, I was going to release a separate blog post but the last couple weeks we have had some changes that feel relevant to write about. We had a team member whom, in my heart, I knew wasn’t working out. However, I saw a lot of this person in myself at a young age, I’m fiercely loyal & want to invest & believe in others & frankly, having never managed my own business before, I’ve been fearful of losing anyone generally. That last bit is kinda what is the crux of it all.
But sometimes you have to make the tough calls when you know things are just not right. And especially when you know that it may result in conflict, separation, or a host of other unsavory outcomes.
So, when I made a decision to remove a shift from a team member until we were able to speak face-to-face about acceptable behavior, I knew an outcome would be that they would quit, and likely without notice. And that’s exactly the outcome. I thought long & hard, after an outburst of sorts that occurred, & asked myself if my brand represented this kind of energy from a team member – despite the individual having some good skills…the answer, obviously, a “no,” I toyed with ignoring the incident (which I had uncourageously done before), have empathy (again, had done that previously) or to finally be firm & frank about how the choices they were making were unacceptable to me & the company.
I finally, with peace in my heart, chose the latter. It wasn’t easy. I was scared because I knew this individual would likely quit instead of seeing the bigger picture or taking responsibility for their actions, & that could leave us in a tricky spot. And they did quit. And it has been a little tricky.
But here’s the thing. I liberated the rest of the team. When I made the announcement, it was like a cloud had been cleared. There was no disappointment. There was only rallying to make the most of the bumpy few weeks ahead. They were desperate for the bad energy to be cleared & although no one said anything, I imagine they had felt let down by me for not seeing it faster. They all felt like this would be good for them, and the company.
I acknowledged I should have been better. I told them I should have listened to other good people who had left because of this individual or complained about them. I was too afraid to look the situation in the eye & deal with it.
I promised them that I would honor them as a membership club. That what we have is too special & anyone else coming into the club is only granted membership by way of vote. It may sound silly – but I needed them to know that no more unilateral decisions will be made on the energy that works with them.
My gut knew this bad energy was depleting other team members. I even lost a wonderful team member due to my inability to act sooner (but they are now working for us part-time again!) & I was able to preserve another team member but had to move them away from working directly with this individual.
It’s like having a great sales person, who makes a lot of money for the company, but is a jerk to the rest of the team members. You’re too scared to take a hit on the sales figures, so you keep the individual around.
I’m going to try not to be afraid when I face this in the future. And I’ll face it again. It will be ok. For the sanity of the rest of the team, you have to make the tough calls on specific individuals that may not have the greatest performance issues.
The team is motivated. The energy is clearer. And you even find things that illustrate that the one that left really wasn’t perfect in how they performed.
Get those individuals out that are not aligned to your values. It will be bumpy. But it will also be BEautiful.