When we bought our horse last summer we had ZERO idea what we were doing. For the seasoned horse people out there (I know deep sigh). We got super lucky in landing at the barn we are at and finding a community of people who are helping us navigate the world of owning a 5yo Gelding.
As leaders we will find ourselves in similar situations where we hire someone or take someone from another team either not realizing just how poorly managed that person was or we think that it doesn’t matter WE must be better than the others in managing that person.
In the horse world you have a few options when you are in over your head, you can sell your horse (or give it back where you got it from), you can simply give up and ignore the issue OR you can find someone who can help. We got very lucky in that our barn owner/trainer is that amazing horse trainer who get’s it and is there to guide us on this journey or we’d have one very unhappy rider and 2 very scared parents!
As leaders we can’t simply give an employee back, we can put them on a performance plan, but let’s be realistic those are simply paths to firing. Or we can ignore the bad behavior, however this puts our team at serious risk when other employees find themselves having to take over for this one employee.
We do have a 3rd option and that is simply to admit we are in over our heads! Find a trusted mentor and ask how they might solve the issue. Ask for their input on what changes can be made to allow this person to be successful. Of course there are times when we only have the option of a plan or letting someone go and those aren’t necessarily terrible ideas. However, what if I challenged your thinking into seeing that there might be another option.
First you need to admit you are in over your head. This can be the hardest step but your success AND that of your team are at stake! Next find someone you trust and tell them you are in over your head, let them know what you’ve done, what you are seeing and ask how they can help or what they see….
Finally LISTEN! Don’t immediately brush aside their advice. Ask questions, ask how this has solved issues in the past. Get details on who to implement their ideas and ask if you can continue to meet to discuss the progress.
This process means you have to humble yourself and admit that you need help which isn’t easy but I can promise you that YOU will be a better leader because of it. You may not be able to save the employee but you will save your team and YOUR team is going to respect you because you stood up to the problem and found help to solve it!
Keep learning my friends