Solution Saturday: Peer Constantly Falls Short

Dear Dan,

I am struggling with a peer (manager) who is consistently falling short in her job. Our director only fixes the short falls but doesn’t address the behaviors.

We are in succession planning. I will be the next director, in about six months. Do you have any articles that may be of help on how to best address these situations?


Future Director

lousy leaders fall into problem centric leadership and never climb out.png

Dear Future Director,

Thank you for bringing this topic to the conversation. I haven’t written about it before this. The suggestions that follow are offered with your future leadership in mind.

First of all, congratulations for looking beyond short-falls to behaviors. It’s easy to miss this.

Second, if this person is as bad as you suggest, the rest of the team will be thrilled if someone deals with this situation.

When peers constantly fall short:

  1. Focus on behaviors within your control. That means your behaviors, first. Leaders find that when they change, the people around them change. (I’m pretty sure that’s the spirit behind your question.)
  2. Beware of gossip. You undermine the future of your leadership when you complain about others to your peers.
  3. Learn what leading without authority looks like. When you become the director, authority will be a small part of your success. Your team may resent any indication that you’re pulling rank.
  4. Get clear on your aspirations for yourself. Frustration tells you what you don’t want, but what do you want?
    • How do you want to show up in this type of situation?
    • Who do you want to be?
    • How would you like to be perceived?
  5. Build relationships that enable discussions about poor performance without creating lasting resentment.
  6. Maintain personal enthusiasm. Frustration with something you can’t change drains you.
  7. Focus energy on success and strength. Lousy leaders fall into problem-centric leadership and never climb out. Increase affirmations, celebrations, and honor for everything good in all your peers.
  8. Peers who try but fall short may need training, or they may be in over their heads. Is it worth the effort to seek improvement?
  9. Check your motivation. Do you want what’s best for them? Leaders seek the best interests of individuals and organizations. (this is important to #5.)
  10. Get out of the past. How might you help your peer find his/her best future?


Stay humble. We grow arrogant when we feel better than others.

One challenge of working on teams is weak links, but keep in mind that you are a weak link in some areas. (Unless you’re good at everything?)

What warning might you offer Future Leader?

What suggestions do you have for Future Leader?

***I relax my 300 word limit on Solution Saturdays.