Why We Need to Let Under-Performers Go

One of the most important decisions we can make as leaders is when to let someone go. Although it’s never a fun decision and an even less enjoyable task, I personally find it easiest to let someone go when their behaviors don’t align with our culture. There is no place for, and I refuse to tolerate, mean-spirited and disrespectful people. No matter how skilled or experienced the person is, if they are not a nice person, there is no place for them in our organization.

I find it more difficult to let someone nice go when the issue is that they don’t work hard. When faced with this dynamic in my organization, we always first spend time with the employee, letting them know about the importance of productivity and how their work habits impact the rest of the team. However, if their attitude and performance don’t improve, we choose to let them go.

We need to ensure that our employees are nice people who also care about the quality of their work and level of productivity.

In my experience as both an employee and a leader, I have seen how important it is to be surrounded by other motivated, talented, and productive individuals. A saying I often use in my presentations is, “Talent motivates talent.” In other words, talented people want to be surrounded by other talented individuals.

The late Steve Jobs had a similar sentiment. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “A-plus players like to work together, and they don’t like it if you tolerate B-grade work.” And when we as leaders accept subpar performers – “B-players” – this frustrates our “A-players,” and we risk lowering our expectations for employee performance over the long term.

As leaders, when it comes to hiring and firing, we need to ensure that our employees are nice people who also care about the quality of their work and level of productivity. I believe it is fundamentally important that an employee is proud and motivated by who they are working with and know that they can rely on them. When you know your coworkers are just as dedicated as you are, you don’t want to let them down and are driven to push boundaries and go further – talent motivates talent!


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Randy Grieser, Author & Speaker

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