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May 15

Correcting Staff

Posted by: Steve Marr

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When we work with staff who need to improve performance, our primary goal is to help them develop the skills they need to be able to continue their employment.  A good guide comes from the words from Ezekiel: “I don't want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD. Turn back and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32, NLT) Just as the Lord does not want anyone to perish, we should do what we can to prevent discharging an employee.


An example from my corporate time was managing “Ken.” I had changed my responsibility in the company and had picked up managing Ken. I had observed him and developed the perspective that Ken was not a particularly good employee. In fact, I thought he should be let go. Of course you can’t release someone without cause; you need to work through a process.

I began my process of managing Ken with the idea that I would build a file that would confirm the decision to let Ken go.  However, in my process I began to experience how Ken responded to direct management.  As I outlined what needed to be done Ken responded on time, and his work significantly improved. My attitude about Ken began to change.  I understood that the issue was not so much Ken’s performance, but that no one had properly managed him in the past.  The mistake I nearly made was assuming that dismissal was in order when Ken only needed good management.

When we manage staff, it is easy to move too quickly to dismiss someone for poor performance.  My view is that first we need to review how we managed the person.  Did we give the person the correct tools?  Did we give clear instructions? Only after we’ve examined our own management should we consider dismissal as a final option. Make it your aim to grow your employees and you will grow your business as well.  

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