If you have a flower garden, then you know that weeds are not respecters of the seasons. They thrive year-round, raising their unwanted heads between rocks, masquerading as the tender plants that you carefully nurture. However, they are still weeds, and they must be dealt with before they take over your garden. It is the same with leadership.
If you discover you have weeds in your place of employment— people who pretend to be effective but are not, then you have two choices. You can either ignore the problem and hope it goes away (it won’t), or you can become a weed eater and take control. If you feel you could use some insight in this area, here are some tools to help you close the gap.
I have worked closely with hundreds of leaders who laugh when confronted with this business truth: don’t water the weeds! Here are some ideas for pulling those weeds:
Idea 1: Back to the Basics
Long ago, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian statistician, said that 20 percent of the people in an organization are responsible for 80 percent of a company’s success. Under this principle then, you should:
Spend 80 percent of your time with the top 20 percent of your people.
Spend 80 percent of your training dollars on this top 20 percent.
Ask the top 20 percent to mentor the next 20 percent, then watch this 40 percent outperform the previous 100 percent.
Idea 2: Partnership Planning
There are four types of employees:
(1) high profit, high maintenance
(2) low profit, high maintenance
(3) high profit, low maintenance
(4) low profit, low maintenance
Your goal as a leader is to terminate the top two, retain the third, and develop the fourth. You can accomplish this with vision and coaching: let your team know where you are going and help them get there by developing their skills.
Idea 3: Help Them Quit
Set a deadline for how long you will coach high-maintenance employees, letting them know that if they do not improve within that period, they will be terminated.