From Patrick Lencioni’s latest newsletter:
It’s a simple but painful problem that has plagued business people since the beginning of time, I’m sure. From shopkeepers in ancient Rome to English factory supervisors during the Industrial Revolution to software engineering managers in modern Silicon Valley, leaders have always struggled with the question of what to do about a difficult employee. And the dilemma is almost always seen the same way: should I continue to tolerate this person or let them go?
The first step toward solving this simple and painful problem is coming to the realization that it is a false dilemma. The decision should not boil down to keeping or firing a difficult employee. In fact, the manager should avoid engaging in this line of thinking in the first place. The real question a manager needs to ask is “have I done everything I can to help the difficult employee?” Based on my work with leaders in all types of organizations and at all levels, the answer to that question is usually a resounding ‘no.’ Here’s what I mean.