When To Give Up On A Person

Randy Moss Trade
Image by DavidErickson via Flickr

I have been thinking about this one for quite sometime, just did not have that big tie in till yesterday. With the waiving of pro-bowl wide receiver, Randy Moss – I know have that fine example. Love him or hate him, that is not the question. What is the focal point, is looking at the overall situation – as a manager when do you give up on a person?

You have an employee that has been a good to super star – and back again. They bring talent and some definite unique skills to the table, but they have some challenges. I guess that is probably the easiest way to describe Randy Moss.  Look at his track record over time – been on top, been in the middle and this year has been a struggle. This is probably not fall from some of the employees that you manage today. Moments of greatness, moments of acceptable performance and maybe touches of needing some performance coaching.

Randy Moss getting waived the other day was big sports news. The debates will roar on for weeks to come. I don’t want to be just one more person in that mix. I want to focus on the above situation and how I would handle an employee that has demonstrated greatness sometimes and right now is in a low point. Seems to me that as a ball player, Randy still has plenty to offer. Much like your employee.

Performance Feedback and Coaching: These are two very different items. Both share a common goal and that is to improve results and higher engagement.

Performance feedback comes in two forms, positive and constructive. Everyone enjoys hearing praise and recognition for a job well done. When the job is not well done, well, constructive feedback of a redirect or reprimand is necessary. As managers and leaders this is sometimes difficult. When this becomes difficult, some leaders do not provide feedback either way – which is worse than some failed attempts on feedback. I wonder, was Randy Moss getting feedback? Never mind – have you provided feedback to your employees?

  • Feedback needs to be SPIFI – Specific to the performance, Pure so that you don’t mix messages, Immediately after behavior has taken place, Frequently provided, Irregularly offered.

The purposes of coaching is to expand the perspective of the employee and support them in developing greater competence and commitment. Coaching can start with feedback which enables expanding the perspective. This is a longer process that requires commitment from both sides. Coaching needs the following

  • Inquire/Listen – Laying the foundation of what is happening and needed.
  • Discuss/Understand – working on the plan of action.
  • Act/Collaborate – getting to the desired results.

Going back to an employee that has demonstrated greatness, makes your team better and has unique skills – are you ready to just give up? With sports – it is easy to say that short term results are important – as without wins – you have nothing. Within the work environment, we have laws and company rules that need to be followed – which don’t let us act as fast as the Randy Moss situation. As a manager or leader – you get your results done through people… Isn’t it best to be helping those people do and be commitment to do their best – in your best interest? I think so. Especially those that have demonstrated greatness sometime in their career. Find out what it was that enabled them to be great – and help the employee get there again.

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