What to do when Fantastic Fred is in a Funk!

Real Estate Agent with Property Management Solutions

The key to the future (mine, yours and that of any organization) is tied directly to the ability to attract and retain quality people and to let go of those who are difficult or subpar.

What is your plan for dealing with challenging people in your organization?

Here is an exercise for leaders or those with direct reports.

If your organization’s revenue was cut in half and you had to let go of 50% of your staff, who would you keep?

List by name everyone in your company or direct reports.  Draw a line half way down the list.

You may find it easier to start with those you want to keep but remember you must list everyone and can only keep 50%.

Who are the people that are below the line?  

What are the issues that placed them in that position?

When are you going to address those issues?

Here are some descriptions of the people who occupy chairs in most organizations and some thoughts on the recommended time frames for dealing with the issues they bring with them.

Bitter Barney  - Barney is the obvious spoiler in any setting , he is divisive and has a negative attitude that seems to be a constant companion whenever he is present.    

        This type of person should be pulled aside and be put on immediate notice of the culture tolerance levels surrounding his behavior. This issue is  a “3 strikes and you’re out “ affair .      

Fantastic Fred – Fred is just in a funk, he is has a history as a great person and contributed to the team in the past, it just seems like he is developing a bad attitude or is becoming difficult to work with lately.

            Address this type of person as soon as a pattern is noticed. Ask what is going on ? What can we do to resolve the issue? And set a timeline of 30 days for its resolution.

Lazy Larry – Larry is simply an underperformer who chooses not to give more than 75% of his effort     to his tasks. He may have been with the organization for a long time, you most likely did not hire him or if you did it was way back when you were first starting out as a leader.

           It may be hard to address the issues found here; he has most likely developed a knack for staying under the                        radar,and doesn’t seem to be causing any real harm. His defensive posture and excuses may even cause you to second guess yourself. Give this one more time , 90 days or so.You need to find the real reason for the underperformance , help them find a fix or move on.

Challenged Charley – Charley is simply under talented for the position that is needed to be filled in order for   you organization to grow to its future potential.He is a great passionate worker who is giving it his all but simply falls short due to a lack of capability and he does not seem to be able to expand that capability due to inherent capacity issues that appear to be outside of his control or ability to improve.

This is the hardest type of person to deal with and it should be done with great care. Depending on the size of the organization this may take a 6 to 12 month period to get sorted out right. Consider redeploying within the organization what could be a very valuable asset that is just not the right asset for the role they are in , if needed provide a generous severance package and help them find a place to settle that is right for their talents and capacity.


If you do not deal with the challenging people in your organization then you allow them to discourage and demotivate the other great people that work for you.


Today’s question is the second of five from notes taken from Bill Hybels opening session at the recent Global Leadership Summit.  The first was found in Mondays post

To learn more about that annual event check out their page at http://www.facebook.com/wcagls





Comments (2)

Suzanne Gantner
Sky Realty, Central Texas Real Estate - Round Rock, TX

Funny - so true, you forgot Sour Susan who cannot be happy or pleased by anything or anyone, such an energy drainer.  Then there is Wasteful Wally, who wants to pop on over to your office/cubicle/water cooler, etc to corner you with babble about how he did this, said that and really does nothing all day except this.

Aug 17, 2011 03:02 AM
BrokerBarry Mathis
Property Management Solutions - Roseville, CA

I like both of those and believe I have met them 

Aug 17, 2011 03:48 AM