When it comes to operational success, it’s important to keep in mind that your entire workforce is only as strong as your weakest link. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eliminate the weakest link, rather you should pinpoint the toxic employees and see if he or she is willing to improve. If there is no desire by the person to improve, then replacing the employee might need to be considered.
Here’s a close look at five signs to look for to identify the weakest link on your team:
- You can never get ahold of the person by phone or email
When you have a team member who is difficult to get in contact with, this makes the entire project 10X harder to complete. It’s nearly impossible to maintain project progress when a team member doesn’t communicate with the team on how his or her part is coming along. Something as simple as a “go ahead, my end of the project is completed” would be nice to know when the entire project is waiting on one person, but with little or no communication, it becomes frustrating trying to determine which parts of the project have already be completed. Fortunately, there are several ways that communication processes can be enhanced, including Video conferences, Email Phone calls, Text messages, Conference calls, Scheduled meetings, Instant messaging
- Failure to show up to meetings
Meetings are an essential part of project completion. Whether the meetings are held via the Internet, over the phone, or in person, all team members should be present to report project progress. It is at these meetings that new ideas will be brought to the table to speed up project completion, but when everyone isn’t present, this makes it difficult to determine the true progress of the project. If you have a team member who constantly misses meetings, this is a good sign that he or she might be the weakest link.
- They show no interest in the project
There’s always that one person who shows up to work each day as well as any meetings, but when you see the look on his face, you know he has absolutely no interest in the project whatsoever. When this happens, there’s no need to get mad. Simply ask the person why he’s not interested. You may find that the person’s interest lie in another area, which could be of use on a different project you have going on. No one likes to be miserable, so make sure all team members are where they belong. If, however, you have a person who doesn’t seem interested regardless of the project you put him on, this might be a sign to let him go.
- They always show up, but they’re always late
Showing up late is just about as bad as not showing up at all. Just when you’re about to close a meeting, another team member walks in and you have to go through the entire briefing process again. This can add days, weeks or possibly even months to your project simply because you can’t keep everyone on the same page. It is paramount that all team members show up on time to each meeting. After so many tardies or absences, you should consider replacing these weak links.
- They constantly complain about doing too much work
Sometimes, your weakest link is actually the person who puts forth the most work, and because they are doing so much work and their heart isn’t in it, you end up seeing that their efforts aren’t at 100 percent. When the work performed isn’t up to par, this can lead to project disaster. You might find that once you think the project is completed that many parts of it were barely attended to. If you have someone in the group who constantly complains about having to do too much work, you should make sure to check his or her work to see if it’s being completed the right way. You might find that it’s better to delegate the work more appropriately so that no one feels overwhelmed.
Knowing What to Do
When you identify your weakest link, this doesn’t mean you need to fire him from the project. Instead, you should see if he has any ideas on how he can improve his efforts. If you find that there is no willingness to improve, perhaps it’s best to look for a replacement. However, it is your job as a team leader to provide the guidance and support that is needed to get the project finished successfully and by its deadline. If you find your weakest link doesn’t improve after you have addressed the situation, find a different team member to ensure project success.
About the Author:
Reuben Yonatan, Founder at GetVoIP, a website helping organizations find the right cloud communication solution.