Putting up with poor performance from staff members and volunteers just because I believed that I wouldn’t find someone else to do the job is something I did for many years as a business person. Because I was a small business and couldn’t afford to pay my staff top dollar for the work they did, I accepted mediocrity from my employees and didn’t think I could expect anything more.
It killed me every day to have to clean up work that was sloppily done, looked the other way when they came in late (again) and forced a smile in conversations with employees who blatantly disrespected my organization and my time. Day by day I felt like I was selling my soul to the highest bidder to keep my business running. The whole thing was a mess and I hated coming into work.
Have you ever felt like that? You cheapen your standards to keep your organization running because you doubt you could do better. Does this thought cross your mind “who I am to expect great results from this person? or (in the case of volunteers) “they’re volunteering their time after all. The fact that they’re showing up to help should be enough, right?” Wrong. Dead wrong.
Without being melodramatic, this belief is an emotional death sentence to you as a leader. I finally had to ask myself after years of this “what does it say about my self-confidence as a leader that I keep someone who is bringing down my organization on my payroll? What is it costing me in terms of emotional energy, stress and self-respect to keep this person around just because I don’t think anyone else will do the job (the job that this person does a lousy job at anyway)?”
We think like this because we think we don’t have any other options. The job needs to be done and we need someone to do it. We feel like our back is against the wall and that our only option is to grin and bear it.
I want to end the post like this; there is always another way to get the job done if you’re willing to stand up for your integrity and think outside the box. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Could a team of volunteers replace this person in the short-term?
- Could I replace this person with someone else who could do a better job for the same price? (The answer is yes).
- Could an online application replace some of what the person was doing?
- Does their job need to be done at all?
Here is a company that is working through some of of these questions on a local business perspective. Check out their website. What is your self-respect worth? Don’t trade it away because you feel that is your only option. Don’t make accepting mediocrity a habit. Your organization deserves excellence from everyone who is involved and to take any less is not what your organization is about, is it?