Follow Instincts When Deciding To Terminate A Poor Performer

Escalation of commitment is the tendency for people to continue to support previously unsuccessful endeavors. With all the talent decisions leaders make, it is inevitable that some poor decisions will be made. Of course, the logical thing to do in these instances is to change that decision or try to reverse it. However, sometimes leaders feel compelled not only to stick with their personal decision, but also to further invest in that decision because they have made a commitment; never is this more apparent than with a hiring decision gone bad.

If a leader’s instincts, observations, and development efforts to date clearly indicate they made a hiring mistake, fight the emotion to invest further time and energy in a direct report that is not going to work out.  Everyone makes a mistake, that’s how we learn.  The key is understanding the mistake, cutting losses, and fixing it.

Leaders who know they need to let go of a poor performing direct report should put together a specific 30-90 day performance plan and make sure the direct report understands they will be asked to leave if the plan is not achieved.  Leaders should hold them accountable to the performance plan and hold themselves accountable to following through on the dismissal, learn from their mistake, and move on.  Escalating the commitment and trying to make an unwilling or incompetent direct report better just makes the termination harder when they finally come to terms with it.

Empowered leaders overcome the natural tendency to unnecessarily work through a poor hire and their teams are more successful.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Leadership, Performance Acceleration

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