A recent survey of over 2000 U.S. employers done for CareerBuilder found that 27 % of bosses had an employee they would like to see leave the organization. This is not surprising but what struck me was the proportion of managers who could see themselves adopting a strategy that avoids the problem entirely or borders on doing so.
A plurality (42%) of responding managers said they would engage in a formal discussion around the performance shortfall which could include triggering the discipline process with a formal warning. This in most situations is the appropriate response for a high performing enterprise.
The other 52% listed a number of strategies they would more likely use. This raised a red flag for me.
- 21% would reduce the individual’s responsibilities
- 8% would move him/her to another area
These two actions may be appropriate if you have an employee who is underperforming because (1) he/she lacks the skills to do the job assigned or (2) it’s a question of poor initial job fit and (3) the person is otherwise a dedicated employee. Absent this, these are “weasel out” approaches.
But take a look below. Here’s where the real avoidance behavior kicks in: by keeping the individual out of the loop and distancing him/her. Sounds to me like a set up for a self-fulfilling prophecy–cutting them off from the information, resources and people they need to do their job well so they will continue not to do their job well.
- 8% would keep the employee out of the loop regarding new company developments
- 7% would reduce communications with him/her to email only
- 6% would cease including the staffer in certain meetings
- 3% would not invite him/her to social gatherings of co-workers (can you believe this one?)
For people he/she truly wants to see gone, a manager who chooses to keep them in their current jobs and pursue any of the above four actions–in lieu of corrective action to get them to perform–should not be a manager. It’s as simple as that.
You can’t build a winning enterprise on a foundation of passive aggressive or avoidance behavior from your management group. Yet, the future of so many organizations is resting on just such a management modus operandi. It’s a shame, because it doesn’t have to be this way. Leadership can be learned. Good leaders can be developed.