Perhaps one of the hardest responsibilities of leaders of teams or organizations is to deal with situations where there is not a good fit between a staff member and his/her role. What makes it hard is that it requires candid conversation with the individual as well as the effort to find a role that is a better fit in your organization or in another. Many of us don't like to have those conversations. However, supervisors have a real obligation to deal with these situations for reasons I will delineate below.
First, to leave someone in a job fit that is not good is a disservice to the individual involved. Almost always a poor job fit also means the individual involved is not happy or fulfilled. At some level they probably know the fit is not right and while they may not want to confront it for reasons of job security we don't do them a favor by allowing them to stay in a place that does not fit them. As one leader said to me recently about a staff member who needed to move along, "She won't like it in the short run but a year from now she will thank me for doing it." We are stewards of others and as such we need to act when necessary.
Second. When there is not a good job fit, others are impacted! Other team members are always negatively impacted by an individual who is not a good fit for their job. To ignore the issue is to disempower the rest of the team. Saving ourselves the discomfort of a potentially difficult conversation leaves other staff having to deal with the poor fit of one of their colleagues. As stewards we cannot do that.
Third, our own leadership credibility is at stake when we ignore these issues. When leaders ignore known issues they lose credibility with their staff who are also aware of those issues. Staff have a right to expect their leaders to have the best interests of the team in mind and to act accordingly. If we ignore issues out of our own discomfort we lose credibility with our staff.
We must deal with these situations with care for the individual involved. But we cannot ignore it.
TJ Addington of Addington Consulting has a passion to help individuals and organizations maximize their impact and go to the next level of effectiveness. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.