Savage counsel – managing people out of the business

Chris SavageChris Savage takes on your career and agency dilemmas in his weekly advice column in Encore

Hi Chris, 
I’m the general manager of a Melbourne agency. One of our newer account guys is not going to make it. He’s often late, can be disruptive in the office and frankly just isn’t good enough at the job. I’m managing him out. I’ll give him every chance to turn it around, but my best guess is that he’ll be gone in three months. The thing is, I’m pretty sure his colleagues know he’s not cutting it. And I get the impression that they think I’m letting them down by – as far as they can see – not doing anything about it. So my question is this: should I speed up the process and get rid of him sooner to keep the team happy? Or does he deserve due process? Or can I have it both ways and send them some subtle signals that things are going on that they can’t necessarily see from outside my office?

Okay – I know I am a bit slow. So let me just check this again. The guy is ‘not going to make it’. He’s late, disruptive, not cutting it, not good enough. Your team feels let down that you let this slacker suck their air. And you’re wondering what to do about it? Crikey – maybe you are the problem? Seriously. Leadership is about knowing what to do, and then getting on with it and actually doing it. Now – I am all for new age love hugs and giving people who deserve it a second chance – that second chance. But come on. This is a classic time to listen to Chairman Mao: “Execute one, educate a thousand.” Fire the jerk. NOW. Face reality and take action. Get this guy out of the way and you will immediately see the shoulders of the team lift, and team spirit soar. And perhaps you need to get a bit more mongrel yourself. Times are tough. People thrive in high expectation workplaces where standards are high. Absolutely show care with those who deserve it and are working hard to meet that standard. But this guy isn’t. KAPOW. Move on, move on, nothing to see here… Move on…

Chris Savage is the chief operating officer of STW Group. His blog, Wrestling Possums with Chris Savage, can be found at chrisjohnsavage.com

Encore issue 19This story first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit encore.com.au for a preview of the app or click below to download.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.