By Liz Bywater, Ph.D.
Several years ago, I was asked to coach an executive taking on a new role, his most senior position to date. In launching our work, we had a conversation with his manager — the CEO of a large healthcare system — to discuss key success factors and potential risks.
As we spoke, it became clear that my client, Bill, had a personal challenge that would impact his ability to thrive in the new role. You see, Bill was inherently a warm, empathic, compassionate person. And while those traits are admirable and a natural fit for the healthcare space, they are also a potential liability. In Bill’s case, they could be an impediment to making tough decisions about how and when to let go of his poor performers. In fact, he had a track record of keeping people onboard despite insufficient performance, inability to keep up with changing demands, and problem behavior that disrupted the efficiency and morale of the organization.
Bill was a thoughtful leader and a very nice guy. But senior leaders sometimes have to make tough calls. They can’t waste precious time, energy, and resources on employees who can’t or won’t come around.
Are you dealing with a staff member who is not performing, behaving, or adding value as a leader? Here are five steps you should take:
Bottom line: Occasional performance gaps may occur due to changing expectations, personal life disruptions, and ever-increasing workplace demands. But continual or progressive problems create unrelenting stress and significant distraction for any leader. If an employee repeatedly fails to meet expectations for performance, workplace behavior and/or overall leadership — despite clarity around what’s expected, real-time feedback, and the tools for success — it is likely time to end the relationship. That will protect your time for real progress, innovation, and meaningful growth.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Dr. Liz on Leadership. Each month, I will share new ideas, tools and advice to help you thrive in today’s ever-changing healthcare environment. Let me know what’s top of mind and I’ll answer your most pressing questions in future columns. Contact me at email@example.com.
For additional tools and thought leadership, check out my all-new website, www.lizbywater.com. And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Slow Down to Speed Up: Lead, Succeed, and Thrive in a 24/7 World