Tough calls and the conviction that drives.
It has always been important to me that everyone on my team is satisfied and on the bus--ready to give the mission their all. Not that I am a proponent of an employer tiptoeing around anyone, but I do believe in the power of the intuitive leader. In truth, I guard my employee's well-being with ferocity. Afterall, when your team is healthy & well-balanced so is your operation!
While you may be headed in a satisfying, mapped-out direction, at some point you will have a member of your team headed in another. Most of the time, as members naturally phase into an alternate stage of their life, the signs of growth, maturity, and that invaluable component call “experience” will being to shine and prove them ready for promotion. However, there are instances when a team member has grown, but not necessarily within your team. In order for your operation to function at 100%, everyone needs to fully believe in the significance of your dream and therefore the mission they are working towards. The tough calls rear their ugly head when you are moving in one direction, but others are furthering their own agenda.
In my experiences, long before you are ever aware of a problem, a wayward team member will begin making their own plans. If left unaddressed or overlooked, they will eventually abandon your mission altogether. The important thing to remember is that regular check-ins with your team are a must. Yearly performance assessments, quarterly sit-downs, weekly meetings and daily conversation that go beyond a shallow “Hello” all keep you in-tune with your team.
As soon as you recognize a member of your team has their own agenda, it’s important to address the situation head on. You should try to back and diagnose the triggers of compromise.
When did they first feel themselves wandering from a passion from their job?
Were they ever actually committed to your mission?
When did you first see an attitude shift in their behavior or those who work directly alongside them?
Is it possible to address the root problem and move forward?
Are they unintentionally displaying rebellion, when in reality they are merely ready for a shift in seating or a promotion?
A member of my very first team--one of my longest running members in fact-- was my first experience with “off the bus syndrome”. It wasn’t until the situation had come full circle that I realized all the signs were in front of me all along. Not only was she not on board, but she was also attempting to gather my other employees to join her alternate mission. It wasn’t until a major game-changing team meeting that the bottom finally fell through.
That’s the way missions work. Either you are on or you are off. When you are off, you will eventually jump ship altogether. Riding the fence won’t cut it for long.
In the end, I realized her walking out on that meeting was the best thing that ever happened to my team. The tension that had been created as she veered one way and I turned the bus another, was toxic, to say the least. The day she called and told Gene and I “Either we do things my way or I walk..." was one of the hardest I had ever had to face. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in my leadership decisions, I just hadn’t had to stand up to blatant opposition from someone I had trusted yet. I had never had to decide “against” someone in order to decide “for” my mission. That day, as I closed that chapter of my team, I realized the irreplaceable value my position was to my mission. If I crack, so will everything I have worked so hard to build. Conviction, dear maker. I’m talking about conviction. No one wants to have to let an employee go, say no, or close a door, but when those tough calls enter your path, the answer to is found in your convictions. The convictions that started your dream are the same ones that will fight to keep it healthy, whole and growing.
Give them grace.
In the end, if an employee really is ready to move on, you will know. My best advice is to let them go and instead of begrudging the change, learn from your time together. Everyone who enters your life and mission is worth giving grace and benefit of the doubt. There is no need to burn a bridge. Rather accept your time as a team has come to an end and wish them well, just as you hope they do towards you.
Until next time.
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