The first time I had to let someone go from my team, I was almost in tears. For a long time, I didn’t want to do it and my boss was putting a lot of pressure on me to make changes to the team. I finally had the meeting with the gentleman and informed him it would his last day.
A few months later, I told my boss he was right. Even though I knew the gentleman in question was not performing, I had underestimated the impact on the team and wider business performance. All of a sudden, the team had a more positive attitude and everyone was focused on delivering the results. What was more surprising however was a few weeks later when the gentleman called me to say he felt relieved. He had been unhappy and wanted a change and was in a new role that was better suited to him. I never forgot the lesson.
A few years later and I am now in the same position as my former boss and have had to encourage (or force) people to make changes to their teams. Many managers shy away from tough team decisions. They don’t want to be seen as being mean or wicked. My advice? When you have underperforming employees on the team, it becomes a distraction for the wider team and business and you are not doing them a favor. You must understand what is driving the underperformance (do they need support? Are they in the wrong role and may be better suited to another department?) and act on it. Make sure you are giving feedback to your team individually and as a group and if you have done all this and there is no improvement, don’t be afraid to make a change. What you cannot do is ignore the problem.
Being a manager or a boss is a huge responsibility. Managing people is an even bigger one. Good luck!