She’s one of your favorite employees. You love going out for happy hour with her. You have great talks about movies, music, books, and even your personal lives. There’s just one thing off. Your other team members are constantly complaining about her work performance.
In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, there is an article entitled “When the Office Laggard Is Your Pal”, that addresses the challenges of having a peer/friend at work that’s a low performer. The article suggests applying several tactics that are consistent with Dale Carnegie Principles:
- “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.”
- “Let the other person save face.”
- “Appeal to the nobler motive.”
- “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”
But how do the dynamics change when we are the team manager, and our friend, the problem person, reports to us? Our approach shouldn’t change, but the stakes go up significantly!
First, we have to understand that, as leaders, we are accountable for our collective team’s performance, so the urgency to address the problem is much greater. Second, if we fail to act quickly, our credibility among the rest of the team will deteriorate. Finally, keeping someone in a role they aren’t good at is not the right thing to do for that person.
We can take action without losing the friendship by following Dale Carnegie’s timeless coaching principles from How To Win Friends and Influence People.
It’s important to remember that swift action is required, and if we fail to make a change, we’re letting down our other team members, and the organization as a whole.