Just recently, a client told me he was very unhappy with a staff member but felt he didn’t have the time or patience to address it, let alone let her go.  Unfortunately, not addressing these concerns, is like not addressing a diseased tooth. It won’t get better with time unless something is done.

So, what to do? 

First, start with the end in mind. Is this person still valuable to you or would you rather have someone else in his or her place?  In other words, do they have the skills, personality and intelligence to meet your requirements? If yes, here are my suggestions:

I start with the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can. I look at the person empathetically because we do not know about anyone’s battles, fears and anxieties.  It humanizes the situation and allows me to be positive during the conversation.

Have a private, uninterrupted meeting and ask if they are OK with your sharing your perceptions.  If they are open, share the good and the bad.  If they do a particularly good job at something, tell them first and then share where you would like to see improvement. The goal of this conversation is to solve a problem and move forward.  So, be specific and share examples. That way, they will be clear about what has to change to meet your expectations.

Encourage that person to share their own perceptions.  Is something getting in the way of their productivity? Do they think they need more training? Is there some difficulty with another staff member?  Are there personal problems getting in the way of efficiency? You may be surprised at what that person tells you.  As Endos, we are so busy with patients and larger practice issues that we can miss the signals.

If they are open to change, that’s great. Follow-up in a month or so regarding anything that needed to change.  Keep in touch, revisit, make sure you’re being clear and helpful.

If they do not take ownership and instead make excuses, blame others, or speak disrespectfully to you…you have a decision to make. I learned long ago that I cannot have people around me that are constantly overwhelmed, inefficient or not honest with me or themselves.  I refuse to live in a chronic level of frustration. 

Replacement might be inevitable. If I see the handwriting is on the wall, my next step is to call my headhunter and try to fill the position before actually giving that person notice.  What I try to avoid is being understaffed, of course, but sometimes you have to be willing to accept temporary discomfort.

Monday morning Quarterbacking

What did you learn from all this?  What would you have done differently?  What signals did you not see when you originally interviewed them for the job?  What changes can you make with the rest of your staff to head off a repeat of these sorts of problems.

Part of my Endo2Endo coaching program is to work on staffing issues in depth.  There are strategies to building and maintaining a satisfied, effective team that I would be happy to share. 

Schedule a FREE private 30-minute call with me and let’s get our conversation started. Just go here