“How do we get them to just leave? For criminy sake, if they don’t like it here, why don’t they just go somewhere else?”
I’m sure at one time or another we have all asked ourselves this. We have someone on our team who is outwardly unhappy. They complain and mope around and make anyone they come in contact with equally crabby and disengaged.
These are the people who “quit, but stay”. They are grudgingly compliant at best and non-compliant at worst, but they decide to keep collecting a paycheck week after week and in the process they bring the entire team down, including the leader.
These people are tough to deal with from a leader’s perspective, primarily for one reason; we are nice people. Our parents raised us to be nice and non-confrontational. Our schools taught us to be nice and non-confrontational. Society taught us to be nice and non-confrontational. But then the highly competitive world of business demands for us to be tough and fully confrontational and, as a result of our many years prior, we are unprepared for the toughness and confrontations that inevitably happen, so we tend to avoid them.
Because we avoid them, we don’t get practice at handling the situations. Without practice we don’t get better and because we don’t get better, we are unprepared for when they eventually do happen…and they do happen. Then the cycle continues.
Practice makes perfect. Competence breeds confidence.
With a mentor, we need to push ourselves to practice creating accountability. We must intentionally determine where our bar of acceptance is within our business structure. What behaviors and results must always exist on our team? Where do we want it to be for performance execution? Where should it be for customer engagement? Where does it need to be for positivity and action? In all, what exactly is the line of acceptance for the culture of our workgroup? We need to decide this and not accept anything below. We must hire to it, coach to it, and remove those who consistently fall beneath it.
Once we have determined that bar of acceptance, we must establish a leadership rhythm around it… a pattern of leadership behaviors that our team understands and expects from us. We need to set clear behavioral and result expectations for that bar. The team must know exactly what they need to do and what they need to achieve to stay on our team. We need to consistently provide feedback, coaching, and support for those expectations. They have to understand that our role, as their leader, is to help them succeed in their efforts and that if they cannot, or will not, put forth those efforts, they cannot and will not be part of the team.
It doesn’t happen with words, it happens with action. Based on our identity, mindset and behaviors as the leader, our team must understand what is expected and, as a result, what the culture of the team really is. We cannot just talk about having fun…we must create fun.
We cannot talk about customer engagement…we must engage with the customers. We cannot talk about setting standards…we must adhere to them. We have to set a clear process for these things, along with other elements of our business, so that the team knows, deep inside, what is expected and why it is expected. It is not enough to talk about it, we must live it, and the entire team must live it as well.
Within a culture of high expectations and high accountability, there is no room for someone to quit and stay. Either they vote themselves off the team because they know that the culture isn’t for them, or they see the culture as one that is exciting and challenging and one that they want to be a part of long-term.
If not, we need to help them to be successful somewhere else. It’s not that we are not nice people; we just need to be nicer to the people who want to win on our team by keeping the culture one of positivity, support and challenge!
There is always a place for everyone, on a winning team there can only be a place for winners. Everyone who chooses not to win must choose to leave or we must make that choice for him or her. Those who don’t want to win with us must find a position somewhere else where their low standards are accepted.
We must design and create the culture we want. We must hold our standards and expectations high. With that culture, there won’t be room on our teams for those who quit and stay.