Members of a team need to have the required skills, aptitude and attitude. If they don’t, it is the job of the leader to expose inadequacies and offer them training. Only when staff have been slotted into the right slots to utilise their assets (qualities) to their best advantage, and been upskilled on their abilities, can a leader disengage an employee. You as a leader will need to feel that you have done your utmost best to develop a team member before you accept that the only option is to let them go. This is a last resort and will require the expertise of a HR specialist in order to go about the process in a professional way. Re-direction counselling is often advisable.
How should you as leader approach training? Use the M plan:
- model (you perform the task while they observe)
- monitor (exchange roles – now allow them to do)
- motivate (remove yourself from the task and let them do it)
- mentor (take them along with you)
- multiply the effect
Give your team permission to do the job, not just authority as that should be earned. Authority comes from a position, professionalism and competency, personality and personal character.
Whilst running my own company I have always had an intern working with us, who would start out at the bottom of the food chain. Once they have demonstrated sufficient interest and a good attitude, we would discover what they were good at, and encourage them to do more of that. I take a personal interest in every one of them and the deal is that for the first few months I invest in them according to the M plan, and they are then given responsibility and an opportunity to prove themselves.
It is rewarding to look back on the interns I have guided. Some of them were offered permanent employment after their internship and were then responsible for inducting the next intern. It is a process that I wish more companies would adopt as business-owners have a responsibility for growing the next generation. It has been rewarding to see them grow and then leave to carve their careers elsewhere, most of them highly successful here in our country and elsewhere. An intern is only successful if the company inducts and manages the intern professionally and comprehensively, and ensures that there is no gap in expectations. Being called in to structure and implement induction and internship programmes is one of the highlights of my work, tracking their success yet another.