The Best Advice for Your Worst Employee

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Let’s talk about the best advice for your worst employee.

You know who I’m talking about, right?

The employee who is always late, who is always making excuses, who is always in need of more supervision than anyone else on your team.  This individual might be the person who is making your life a nightmare right now.

Are you picturing this person?

Are you getting angry?  

Are you remembering what s/he is supposed to be doing right now, but isn’t?  

Are you feeling your frustration level rise?

OK – take a deep breath.  Let’s do something to fix this situation.

What’s the best thing you can do to help this person?

Leadership is about serving others, wouldn’t you agree?  And, that means serving even your worst employee.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you do some sort of work for this person, or that you become subservient or anything like that.  Actually, quite the opposite.  Your position within the chain of command offers you the opportunity to serve your worst employee in ways that no one else can.

[box]“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.

– Vince Lombardi[/box]

You see, it may be best for your worst employee to be working for someone else.  

Maybe your worst employee would be better off in another department, or another role, or another company. Ultimately, your role is to do what’s best for the company, and for your team, if you subscribe to the idea of servant leadership.

Even if you don’t subscribe to servant leadership, and you are kind of a selfish bastard, you can still help yourself by helping others.

And sometimes the best help you can offer someone is to show them the door.  You know what I mean?

The door is the way out – the way that the behavior changes (because it goes away).  You owe it to yourself and to your team to work with every member, striving and trying to gain the performance you need.  But, when your team won’t take care of you, you’ve still got to take care of them.  And sometimes, when faced with your worst employee, the best thing you can do is make a change.

  • When it’s time to stop making excuses and start moving forward, why not let go of the thing that’s holding you back?
  • Would it be OK with you if your worst employee wasn’t your problem anymore?
  • Will you survive – will life go on, and will your business continue – with one less problem in the picture?

When it comes time to make a change, it’s best to move quickly.  Make sure that you’ve done everything  you can to correct a bad situation, and then…take the one step that’s going to make the biggest difference for you and your organization.

And remember, nobody ever said that doing the right thing is going to be easy.  But maybe – just maybe – when you do the right thing, the right results will follow.


Main image courtesy of Walt Stonebruner. Used under creative commons, some rights reserved.

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