When to Give Second Chances and When to Cut Someone Loose
Second chances are endorsements.
Second chances are investments of personal collateral.
Second chances strengthen relationships.
Leaders – who don’t give second chances – waste potential. But give no patience to people who don’t care and don’t try.
Don’t give second chances when:
- Response to failure is excuse or blame.
- People don’t appreciate the impact of their poor performance on others. Employees who minimize poor performance don’t own the negative impact they have on teams.
Don’t give second chances to excuse-makers unless you want a culture of excuse-making.
Give second chances when:
#1. Effort was high but results disappointing.
Responsible failure earns coaching. “What will you do differently next time?”
Irresponsible failure earns confrontation.
You get what you tolerate.
Drifters deserve a kick in the pants, not opportunity to drift again.
#2. Humility is obvious.
Second chances and consequences go together. After falling short, higher accountability or more oversight may be appropriate.
- Are they willing to earn trust where it was broken?
- Are they open to greater accountability?
- Is the person willing to take on less responsibility?
Give second chances when you hear, “I screwed up.”
#3. Good results are normal.
#4. Failure occurred around new responsibility, but they’ve risen to new challenges in the past.
History predicts the future.
#5. When YOU’RE responsible for their failure:
When people on your team stumble, look in the mirror before casting stones.
- You talk, but don’t act. You taught people that deadlines don’t matter because you don’t keep deadlines, for example.
- You expected strength where there was weakness.
- You promoted someone, but didn’t provide training, mentoring, or coaching.
When you’re the reason for their poor performance:
- Acknowledge what you didn’t do.
- Explain what you will do moving forward.
- Ask for suggestions.
Second chance are permission to begin again.
Leaders who don’t give second chances create cultures of fear, blame, and retribution.
When are second chances appropriate?
Everyone deserves a second chances, unless they prove otherwise.
Thanks Gerry. Err on the side of giving second chances.
A real good post to think differently to put things on the right track!
Giving a second chance after reviewing the possible reasons of failure is a rational way of keeping the trust in the fellow workers and strengthening the loyalty factor. A good leader will always demonstrate the humility and encourage the team with required guidance. I fully agree with you on your conclusion that leaders who don’t give second chances create cultures of fear, blame, and retribution.
The essential of Talent Retention is to keep good faith in the capabilities of your people and moulding them to achieve the set goals in difficult times with self-conviction and new zeal.
Thanks Dr. Asher. The inclusion of talent retention is important in this conversation. It’s expensive to find talent and it’s expensive to replace lost talent.
Having been on both sides of a fence one time another during our journey, giving and deserving are a fine line! We need to evaluate as is discussed, at which point offering the chance is based on logical review which keeps the system working for all. Once we have decisions made we need to bring the individual or individuals on board with clarifications what we need from them, what they did in error and how we propose this won’t happen again.
I think circumstance dictate the resolution, we are building leaders.
Thanks Tim. My concern with second chances is abuse. Failure matters. It’s wrong to give people the impression that it doesn’t. Learning from failure makes failure useful. If we aren’t learning, there’s no point in giving second chances.
I agree with you there needs to be accountability, the second chance comes down to did they learn their lesson the first time? How much can or will one tolerate?
Had a chief who would say “I think its time to go fishing”. He told me sometimes you look at what you have and need to decided do I throw this back and hope I get something better or do I work with what I have. I could get someone worse. On the issue of self reflection, you cant discipline an employee who is only acting like you.
Thanks Walt. “You can’t discipline an employee who is only acting like you.” … Now if we can just get enough emotional intelligence to see what’s happening.
Second chances are valuable to the individual, the team, the leader, and the company. Everyone benefits from having another opportunity to grow and learn. Third, fourth, and fifth chances start to look like insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Thanks Tim. Don’t bother giving second chances if there’s no learning. What’s the point? 🙂
When to Give Second Chances and When to Cut Someone Loose ?
Leadership and management would have to face reality in regards to this situation. It is not really a matter of black and white. There are gray areas to examine. At one point in time did the employee display exemplary behavior and for some unknown reason become a slacker? There is surely something wrong with that picture, right? A cry for help perhaps? Maybe the employee is not a good fit for the position? How long has the employee been in the particular role? People are human first and employees second leadership and management must at least give a person a chance. Does the employee need additional training? Perhaps the employee is too embarrassed or ashamed to approach a supervisor or manager and ask for help. Basically, if an employee is not performing up to par something is wrong. Does the employee have unique ways of learning or processing information?
It would be nice to live in a world where people are seen as human first and employees second. Leadership and management must open their eyes and realize that “employees” are struggling with real-life issues outside of the organization. Is the employee going through a nasty divorce and custody battle for the children? You’d be surprised how many employees are just one paycheck away from becoming homeless or cannot afford to buy groceries to eat. Many employees are down to their last dollar bill and don’t even know where the next one is coming from. It’s difficult to come to a job and pretend everything is all right when you have hundreds of issues plaguing your mind. It’s simply hard to concentrate, focus or even think. Sometimes behind those happy smiling faces, are thoughts of despair. As a leader would you even recognize if your subordinate was struggling or would you be too concerned with the almighty dollar? After all, management doesn’t hire employees, but human beings.
I have had jobs in the past that I knew I wasn’t a good fit for the actual position. Yet, reality called because I had bills to pay and couldn’t afford to resign a position without having another job lined up. So, I rode it out as long as I could until I could find another job.
When are second chances appropriate?
I think trust falls in there somewhere. You ask if they are willing to earn trust where it was broken, but that goes in the opposite direction toward the manager or leader. If you can’t trust your team member or employee to complete that task or other tasks, giving them a second chance may not be in anyone’s best interest.
We all have to know each of the team members will do their part when the time comes. In order for the team to achieve success, each member needs to be trusted.