3 conversations to have with non-performing team members

*team blog Oct 26, 2022

Why aren’t most organizations growing?

They have chosen not to!

They refuse to display the courage needed to have the conversations needed to build the clarity, cohesiveness, and the team capacity needed to take the next hill.


Leadership requires daily courageous conversations, especially with people who aren’t getting the job done or don’t display the values to which we claim to hold. They are called non-performers.

By the way, I have never had a leader say to me: “I had that conversation too soon.” On the flip side, I have had literally HUNDREDS of leaders say to me: “I waited too long to have that conversation.” Lesson? Have the conversation with that non-performer...TODAY!

Here are three conversations you need to have with non-performing team members…


Conversation #1 = “It’s time for you to GROW…”

“The organization is moving forward. We are experiencing momentum. We are growing.”

Spur that same growth in the leader. Help them see how they have stalled because most of them can’t see it.

Be clear about their need to grow in their capacity, character, etc. Help them build them build a clear growth plan for which they can be held accountable.

Be clear about what happens if growth does not occur. If we are thinking of moving or replacing someone on our team, and they would be surprised by that conversation, we have not been a good leader.

Yes, it requires courage to lead.


Conversation #2 = “It’s time for you to SHOW...”

A staff only becomes a TEAM when it becomes 127% aligned around the VISION & VALUES of the ministry or organization.

Here’s our first challenge: usually, there are one or two members on the team who tend to pull in their own direction. There are often one or two team members who can’t keep up with the rest of the team.

Alignment requires courageous conversations and courageous decisions.

Sometimes, we need to say, “It’s time for you to SHOW (not just SAY) that you are committed to what we’re doing and where we’re going!”

Again, it requires courage to lead.


Conversation #3 = “It’s time for you to GO…”

There are times when you can’t rescue a team member. Not everyone who starts with you needs to finish with you. In fact, most won’t.

A great leader knows that hanging on to a non-performer is not only not good for the organization. It’s not good for the person involved!

Hanging on too tightly only makes things worse between us and a non-performer. 

Release them. But when you do, do it the right way.

(For help with this, see the recent post on hiring and firing— www.CourageToLead.com/blog/hiring.)

Once more (I know you see the theme here), it requires courage to lead.


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