It takes all kinds of people, experience, backgrounds and personalities to make a business successful. If everyone were a cookie cutter of each other it would make for a pretty boring and frankly unimaginative place.
But what happens when slackers infiltrate your efficient culture and how do you light a fire under their a#@ or suffer their far reaching negative effects?
We all know an Excuses Ethan. Yep, he’s that guy that has an excuse for everything. He may have started the habit long ago with the proverbial, “the dog ate my homework” and has now adopted it as standard operating procedure, much to the chagrin of everyone that has to work with him. Ethan knows far too well how to work the system with one excuse after another but the real danger is Ethan rubbing off on your other great team members.
What message does it send to your team when you let an Excuses Ethan continue his charade? Think about the impact this has. Do you send the message that it’s okay? Nip this one in the bud pronto. Give Excuses Ethan specific measurable goals with a heavy dose of accountability. You may just turn him into Eager Ethan by showing an interest in what he does and how he does it. Too often Ethan-types fly under the radar, when what they really need it a bit managing.
Debbie is darn good at what she does and she knows it. But, there are heaps of people who depend on Debbie and when she’s late with projects, they’re late and the landslide starts. It’s not pretty. Debbie may even be bold enough to start pushing her work on those around her. Soon enough large projects don’t get delivered and your customers are impacted. Debbie’s co-workers start to resent her and something needs to change. STAT.
You need to get to the bottom of Debbie’s struggles fast. Is it a resource issue, or does she just suck at managing her time? What help can you, or someone else provide? Get Debbie’s buy-in at the start of a project about how long it will take. Negotiate timelines if her needs are unrealistic. You need to let Debbie know that she’s responsible for making deadlines not only for her own sake, but for her co-workers and your customers and that deadline creep is unacceptable. She can certainly come to you if there is an unforeseen risk that will impact the deadline, but otherwise you need to empower her to make the deadlines that she has agreed too.
Do either of these slackers sound familiar? If they do, get involved and provide coaching and help to turn them into productive contributors. They’ll thank you for it and so will the rest of your team.