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Letting any employee go is hard to do, but when your boss says no, it certainly stops the show and keeps you from leading or at least weeding out those who don’t fit. Or does it? Can you still lead a team with one person you’d rather not stay? Absolutely. In fact, it may turn out to be one of the best lessons for which you could never have paid. These 7 strategies will help when your boss won’t let you let go of someone you know should go.
1. Avoid Excess Frustration
Don’t just give up if you think an employee should be terminated, but your boss said “no way”. That frustration and apathy will build on itself. Find a way to use the entire exercise and its many struggles as a lesson from which to learn.
2. Learn from Their Behavior
Watch how they respond to different ways you communicate. Observe how they can twist what you say and hear something vastly different. Watch how they can push your buttons and learn from what their behavior tells you, or shows you, about …well…you.
3. Set Consistent Boundaries
Just because they must stay employed, does not mean you have to stay annoyed. Clarify what behavior you’ll tolerate. Let him know when he’s crossed a line. You may not be able to dole out consequences for bad behavior but you also don’t have to be a doormat.
4. Continue Documenting Behavior
You may not be able to dole out consequences for poor performance, bad behavior or poor job fit in this case, but you can and should continue to document the problems and keep them in the employee’s file.
5. Have a Heart to Heart
You may not see eye to eye, but you can talk heart to heart. A difficult relationship takes two people and if the employee knows you want them to go, the pressure they feel will match your frustration. Have a talk in which you both agree to disagree and not take action at this time or share more about what you need from them and how they need you to lead.
6. Focus on Respect, Not Effect
There is nothing that says two employees must like each other. It is, however, important to have mutual respect. Respect their leverage and expect them to respect your leadership position. Respect then becomes your focus instead of your perceived impact of their behavior on your mood.
7. Accept Your Situation
Don’t be the leader who sees the wall, beats their head against the wall and then complains about a headache but refuses to stop the beating. Accept it. If you can’t change your scenario, do the best you can. If you can’t fire the person you find most offensive, you always have choices on how to respond, re-approach or remove yourself from the situation. Sometimes the best remedy is to let it go and choose the battles for which you are willing to expend your precious leadership energy, time, and strength.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!