One of the debates that leaders engage in whenever they meet is whether they should focus on people’s weaknesses or build on their strengths. Some people are of the opinion that good leaders should focus on people’s strengths and utilize them. Others argue that leaders should help people to overcome their weaknesses. But I stated in my book (360 Degrees Business Management) that CEOs and leaders generally should focus on people’s strengths, not on their weaknesses.
The truth is that there is no individual on earth that doesn’t have weaknesses. If a leader devotes more time in dealing with people’s weaknesses, he won’t have time to focus on his primary duty. As long as the weakness is not evil or dangerous, encourage the person to overcome it, but focus on the person’s strength.
Great leaders know that people have weaknesses. Their job is not trying so hard to point out their weaknesses, but looking for ways to utilize their strengths.
A staff that hates coming to office, and rather prefer working remotely, but generates the highest result for an organization should be allowed to work the way he likes. As long as he is generating results.
To Attract Strength, You Must Put Up With Weaknesses.
World class CEOs ask; does this man have strength in one major area? And is this strength relevant to the task? If he achieves excellence in this one area, will it make a significant difference? If the answer is yes, theywill go ahead and employ the man.
But in doing that, you must never tolerate mediocrity. Sack anyone who consistently fails to perform with high distinction. To let such a personremain in his job is to corrupt others. It is grossly unfair to the whole organization. It is grossly unfair to other staff who are deprived by their colleagues’ inadequacy.
General Marshall during World War 11 insisted that a general officer be immediately relieved if found less than outstanding. To keep him in command, he reasoned, was incompatible with the responsibility the army and the nation owed the men under an officer’s command.
Marshall flatly refused to listen to the argument; “But we have no replacement.” “All that matters,” he pointed out, “is that you know that this man is not equal to the task. Where his replacement comes from is the next question.”
I am not saying that you should tolerate mediocrity. I am saying that if the man is qualified for the job but has a particular weakness that may not interfere with the job, hire him. Why? Because there are no perfect people anywhere.
Three Reasons People Must Be Fired
You are fired! The three most dreaded words in every organization. Nobody loves to be fired, but people are fired on daily basis.
It is unfortunate that some managers and bosses fire people for trivial reasons. We know that people must be fired, but there must be cogent reason before someone can be sacked. There are natural weaknesses that may not warrant firing.
On the other hand, most business owners and managers struggle to sackincompetent people. They feel guilty during and after firing people.
So, today, I want show you the three factors you must consider before you sack people. It is culled from my newest book, Becoming An Outstanding Leader.
Anyone who has integrity challenge should be fired before he or she teach others how to do the same thing. Personally, I won’t think twice before firing someone who stole from the organization, manipulated figures, leaked the company secrets to competitors, or caused acrimony and disunity among the workforce.
The reputation of many organizations has been damaged because they left a fraudster for toolong. Instead of acting fast when they found out, they kept dillydallying until she or he committed a fraud that put the whole organization in trouble.
A leader should make an example of anyone found to be questionable in his dealings. If a leader fails to act fast when a staff is cheating, lying and coopting others into his underhanded activities, the organization will definitely bear the brunt very soon
When an organization can no longer meet its obligations, people must be fired. Companies hire people to help turn around its fortunes. But if revenue is low, profit margin is in the negative, and salary is bigger than the profit, the leader has no choice than to let some people go.
But I always advice leaders to call for a meeting and let all your staff know what has been happening in the organization. Let everybody know that profit is lesser than salaries and other expenditures. Then, challenge everybody to turn the tide. Assure them that you will not fire anybody if the profit improves. When you do this, you literally give them the option to either fire or retain themselves. You have shown them that they are the ones thatwill make the final decision.
What I don’t like is when leaders wake up and fire people without giving them the opportunity to make amends. Your people should know what is going on. They should join you to fight for the survival of the organization. In fact, most times, they may even suggest a pay cut for everybody until the organization stabilizes.
This story as shared by Jack Welch throws further light into this important point. “Sometime ago, at a Q & A session in Orlando, Florida, I was introduced to the audience by the owner and CEO of a New England-based consulting and training firm. Before the session, I asked her about her business. She told me it had taken a real hit after the Internet bubble burst. She’d had to lay off half of her thirty employees.
“How did it go?” I asked. “Incredibly well,” she answered, to my surprise. “My husband and I practiced open-book management. Our employees knew about the state of the business. When the time came for layoffs, people were sad, but they understood.” Today, the business is flourishing, and many of the CEO’s former employees have returned without bitterness.”
The lady and her husband could do this because the business was small. What do you think she could have done if the company is a big as Microsoft or Facebook? Daunting, right? Definitely. It is easier to convince your team if the organization is small, but very difficult if it is a large corporation. That is why you see employees protesting in different corporations. Sometimes labor unions will declare a strike to force you to rescind your decision. Nobody wants to know whether you are making profit or not.
I outlined strategies for crisis management in my new book that will be released this year—Becoming An Outstanding Leader. But if you are leading a large organization, you must learn the art of negotiation. Of course, you must show those you want to fire your books, but it is easier said than done. The only way to handle it is through negotiation. You will win some and lose some. But people must go so that the organization will not go bankrupt.
When someone is not preforming at the level he is expected to perform, he should be informed about that. The leader through the HR should ascertain why that is happening. When you find outthe reason, look for ways to help the person. Send him for special training orcoaching. Then give him time to generate better result.
Again, find out whether he is well fitted for the job he is assigned to do. Maybe the job is bigger than his capacity or he doesn’t have the required skill to do it. If that is the case, reassign him where he can thrive and give him time. If he fails to improve, he should be fired. At this point your conscience is clear. Anyone that hears about it will not blame you because you did your best to help him.
What should a leader or CEO do next? Order my book, 360 Degrees Business Management, and also sign up for our Corporate Leadership Coaching. Chat with me on WhatsApp or Telegram or simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What did you learn today? Share your thoughts with others at the comment section below.
See you at the top!