The Power of Positive Turnover

The idea that turnover could ever be a positive thing might come as a surprise to you, but trust me–there is such a thing as positive turnover. You see, there are people whose very presence on a team is inhibiting the performance and productivity of other team members. Furthermore, their attitude and inability to work well with others can damage team morale and worse—drive away good people. They are called “culture-busters.”

One of the biggest mistakes that managers and leaders make when dealing with this type of employee is to do nothing. They think that by ignoring or tolerating their behavior, everything will just mysteriously get better somehow. Wrong. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. Seems obvious, but it’s amazing how often the “do nothing” strategy is chosen as the approach for “dealing” with these type of situations.

When this is your approach, guess what happens? Your people lose confidence in you, and they draw one of the following conclusions:

1)  You’re not aware of the situation. This sends the signal that you are detached and uninvolved in the day-to-day realities of the team or organization.

2)  You’re aware of the situation, but you’re not doing anything about it. This sends the signal that you are not comfortable making tough decisions or dealing with conflict.

The damage caused by failing to deal with an employee that is detracting from the team and hurting the performance of the organization can be catastrophic. Morale declines, performance declines, organizational health declines, good people leave. As the leader, you don’t want any of these things to happen, so why run the risk of allowing a “culture-buster” to wreak havoc on your team and organization?

If you find yourself in this situation, faced with the tough decision to let someone go, confront the issue head-on. Do not let the short-term feelings of conflict or discomfort cause you to avoid making a decision that has long-term implications for the health and success of your organization.

Here’s the good news: when you do decide to confront the issue and remove the person from the organization (assuming their attitude/behavior cannot be corrected), the morale of your team will immediately increase. It’s like a breath of fresh air, a brand-new day that gives hope and instills confidence. It says to your people that you are aware of what’s going on around you, and you will not tolerate anyone who seeks to damage the culture, health, or performance of the team. This is leadership in action, and your people need to see it from you.

Are you dealing a potential “culture-buster” situation on your team? Is anything preventing you from making the decision that you know deep down needs to be made? Ponder the potential consequences of not acting. This should make your decision a lot easier.

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