Episode 105: How to Lead a Team with Minimum Turnover

How to Lead a Team Without the Hiring/Firing Boom and Bust

Knowing how to lead a team (especially when your goal is to scale to 7 figures) is so much more than just hiring people and assigning them their roles. 

Whether your team is just a few people or steadily increasing, you’re going to run into situations where you wonder if this person is the right fit…or if it’s time to fire and move on. 

BUT… most of my 6 and multi-6 figure clients often think they need to fire too soon. 

You don’t want to carry the weight of an under-performing team member when you (and the other members) have full to-do lists. 

However, our team members are usually a direct reflection of our leadership. If your member is not showing up in the way you need them to, this might not actually be their fault. 

If you’re experiencing conflicts with your team members (whether that be lack of productivity, lack of results, or any other persistent issues), Scale to Seven® might be the right mastermind for you to join. 

Inside, I help you scale from 6 to 7 figures with systems and leadership skills that scale your business without overworking or burnout. Apply here.

 

Signs You Might Not Be Leading Your Team Successfully

Maybe you haven’t communicated what you need effectively. 

Maybe you haven’t trained them as clearly as you thought. 

Maybe they do not have the right resources or equipment to do their job the right way. 

In today’s episode of The Elevate Effect™ podcast, I’m giving you the Pre-Correction Checklist you need to make sure you’re not the cause of a team member’s lack of performance in your company! 

Remember, if you fire a team member because of a gap in your own leadership skills, you’re only going to find the same problems repeated again and again in new members until you fix that trait in your own leadership. 

If you’re having problems with a team member’s under performance or lack of results, be sure to listen to this episode to make sure you’re addressing the root of the problem – and not slapping a Band-Aid on the surface of a deeper issue!

 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

Is it you or is it them? 

You’ll learn how to lead a team effectively so that you’re giving each team member everything they need to succeed in your company – that means recognizing where your leadership gaps are hurting their performance. 

  • You’ll learn how to tell if your team member is underperforming or if you’re not giving them the support and clarity they need, 
  • You’ll get my Pre-Correction Checklist to make sure you’ve done everything on your part to support the team member before coming in with discipline or correction, 
  • And you’ll break that hiring/firing cycle by getting to the root of the problem, so the same issues don’t keep popping up from new hire to hire. 

Have you ever let a team member go only to realize they weren't the problem all along? Because after you let them go, the same issues started happening again with new team members. I have, and it was a wake up call. I experienced this a very long time ago. It's been multiple years ago. But what I will tell you is that it was a lesson that I will never forget. It's very easy to assume that a team member isn't the right fit. And it's tempting to believe that hiring them and hiring someone else will fix the problem. But often, we, as the leader, are the problem.

That's why when my clients come to me furious, frustrated, or fed up with a team member and they ask for advice on how to correct or discipline or even fire them, I always slow them down. First, we have to explore the root cause. Because sometimes, they're right and the corrective action or discipline for the team member is necessary, but sometimes and more often than you think, it's the leader who needs to make a change first. So then the question becomes, how do you know if it's you or them? It's a age old question, is it me or is it you? Right? If you can confidently check every box on a pre correction checklist, then you'll know. You'll know that it's the team member. Now, you're like, I don't have a precorrection checklist. What is that? Well, by the end of this episode, you will have 1. So what I'm gonna walk you through today, this is a checklist that I recommend that you reference every time you consider correcting a team member, but especially before you formally discipline or even think about firing them.

It ensures that you're setting them up for success and that is your job as a leader. Leadership isn't optional. If you have a team and if you aren't doing your job well, they can't do theirs. Right, they can't do a great job if you're not doing a good job leading them. So this list is all about making sure that you're leading them well, that you've put the right things in place to really set them up to succeed, and that you don't give them correction or discipline until you've first made sure that you can check these boxes. So what goes on a precorrection checklist? 1st, the role responsibilities were formally communicated in a written job description and agreed upon by the team member. If you have a team, any team member, doesn't even have to be an employee, this could be contractors, and you don't have a very clear written job description that you've reviewed with them and they've agreed upon, then that's where you gotta start. So the question is, do you have a written job description for every team member? Have they reviewed and agreed to it? And if not, go back.

Go get that in place and then move on to number 2. Sufficient onboarding and training was conducted and the team member was certified, I'll explain what that means in a second, by the appropriate supervisor to perform their role responsibilities. Now, sink or swim isn't the right strategy for most new team members. You must train them. You must onboard them. Even if you're bringing in someone who is experienced, you still have to onboard them well to get them acclimated to your business, your systems, your team. So you can't assume that they understand. You have to tell them through training and then you have to also ensure that they retained that training, you can do that by having them repeat it back to you or completing a test project to confirm that they actually learned what you taught them.

3rd, company core values and team commitments were clearly communicated and agreed upon buy the team member. Some of you think core values are fluffy and you don't ever use them. Maybe you don't even have them. But core values are what you will lead and manage your team by. I communicate these during the hiring process, and then I reference them often when I'm recognizing team members for their performance or I'm holding them accountable for poor performance, I always circle back to values. In addition to core values, I also recommend you have some team commitments. These are the expectations or the common behaviors or characteristics of all of the team members that you've communicated and that they've committed to. Sometimes, this is written in more of a manifesto style, sometimes it's a simple list, but the great thing is that they replace the need for lots of rules or policies.

Number 4, explicit and measurable goals were defined and communicated using a 30, 60, 90 day success plan if the team member is within their 1st 100 days. Or role KPIs, key performance indicators, are used after that initial time frame. So I want you to answer this question. How can a team member succeed if they don't have a clear definition of success? And how can you hold them accountable if you don't have a way to measure their performance? So you need very clear and measurable goals for their 1st 90 days and then also ongoing. Number 5, the supervisor delegated the project and task using clear and thorough instructions following a specified delegation framework, you would be surprised how often you think that you're clear because you can see that end result in your mind. You know what you want. You know what your expectations are. You know what you're looking for.

You see it. You visualize it, but you don't actually communicate it clearly to your team. So I recommend that you have a very clear delegation framework that you refer back to when you're giving direction. It doesn't have to be difficult. You just wanna have a process that you follow to consistently give direction and make sure that you're being thorough and clear. Number 6, the team member understands their responsibility to ask for help and have been given an ample opportunity to ask questions or request clarification. This seems obvious, but you need to be available to your team. You need to let them know that they can and should ask for help if they get stuck.

I want you to notice how you treat questions from your team, do you create a safe environment for them to ask for help, or do you act frustrated or annoyed when they need something. It's okay to have boundaries and it's okay to have a process for how they ask questions. In fact, I highly recommend it. But many business owners, the way that they behave positions them as being unapproachable from the perspective of their team members. Number 7, after noticing the team member was sliding off track, leadership stepped in to coach and support the struggling team member with informal counseling. So before there's ever any formal write up or corrective action or firing, did you give the team member feedback and provide coaching? Did you show your support and help them see that you're on the same team and let them know that you want them to be successful. Number 8, the team member was explicitly asked how the company can help them improve on their performance, and then the company provided reasonable accommodations. In other words, did you ask for feedback on what you can do better as a leader or what resources and support you can provide to help them perform well, you need to be asking for that first, and, of course, providing anything that's reasonable to help set them up for success.

Then number 9, this team member has displayed ongoing performance issues, and this will not be the 1st communication regarding the issue with the team member. The question here is, have you given them feedback before? Will they be surprised? The 1st time that they hear feedback should not be paired with corrective action, discipline, or being let go, you should be giving that feedback ahead of time. They should not be surprised. Okay. That's the list. Those are the 9 things. And if you can confidently say you've taken all of these steps, then, yes, it's time for corrective action. But there is even a slight hesitation for any of these.

If, as you heard me, you're like, I have not done any of that, then I recommend you take responsibility, and you do what you need to to make it a firm yes to all of these. If a similar situation arises again with a team member, you will know that it's not you. If it happens again and you know that you've done all of these 9 things, then you'll know you've done your part as a leader. You'll know you did your job, that you set them up for success and that it's time to address it with your team member. Now, that doesn't mean firing them immediately. But it definitely means that you'll begin some more formal communication and documentation. Remember, if you have a team, leadership isn't optional. Their performance is a reflection of your leadership.

If you have an underperforming team, whether that's a single individual or a group, you must start improving performance with your own performance. If your team is underperforming, you've gotta correct your own leadership first. And if you have an incredible team and you want to retain them long term and create a culture that attracts top talent, this all begins and ends with your leadership as well. You still want to set people up for success even when they're high performing.

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