3 Reasons Team Members Fail

3 Minute Read

As a small-business owner, it’s one of the most stressful, traumatic decisions you’ll ever have to make. At some point in your career, you’re going to have to step into the ugly shoes of The Donald and fire someone. What’s even more tragic is that in many cases, letting someone go should never have happened in the first place.

As Dave teaches in EntreLeadership Master Series Lesson 5, there are a number of reasons why team members don’t make it, and most of them don’t have anything to do with their abilities or attitude.


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Reason #1: Leadership Breakdown

According to research from the Employment Policy Foundation, more than 25% of new hires will fail before the end of their first year at a new job. Another 25% will bomb in the first 18 months. The reason for these flops? Many times, it’s staring right back at you from the mirror. You (or your leaders) are the problem. Before firing anyone for underperforming, ask yourself:

  • Did you hire the right person for the job? If not, can they shine somewhere else in your organization?
  • Was the person given an outlined job description (Key Result Areas) defining in detail what winning in that position looks like?
  • Was the team member correctly trained and properly mentored?
  • Was the team member given all the tools to win?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, then your team member may well be on their way to walking out the door for no reason other than poor leadership.

Reason #2: Personal Problems

One of the driving philosophies at Dave’s company is that “people matter,” including his team. So if a member of his staff is experiencing a personal problem that is causing them to fail at their job, Dave always errs on the side of grace. “You’ll never have regrets that way,” Dave says.

When dealing with a team member’s personal problem, first assess how big it is, and then how you can assist them. Many times, Dave will pay for professional help for a member of his team who is going through a crisis. Once you’ve evaluated the situation, make plans to ensure their job is covered while they heal or recover. At some point, though, you must see some incremental progress from the person or you will have to re-evaluate their position.

Reason #3: Incompetence

Has anyone worked for you who simply couldn’t get the job done? If they just need training or a mentor to help move them forward, that’s an easy fix. But if their incompetence is due to character or behavioral flaws, like lack of integrity or laziness, that’s a whole different kettle of ineptitude. They should immediately be released.

Before you pull the trigger and fire someone, consider the reasons why they are not working out. And then, fix the problem before you lose someone who’s worth keeping. It’s always worth the effort.

To learn more about business, team building and leadership, download our newest EntreLeadership Podcast. You’ll hear more from Dave, as well as a special question and answer session with two of his team leaders: Chris LoCurto, vice president and host of the EntreLeadership Podcast, and his producer, Chris Mefford, vice president of Live Events.

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