You team is only as strong as its weakest link

by THE WAV GROUP on November 1, 2009

MLSs and Associations are very lucky.  Generally they have loyal staffs that have worked together for many years.  Turnover is rare.  All of that can lead to cohesive teams that work well together, especially in crisis times. It also means they know the subscribers well and the customers know them too.

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it can sometimes lead to stagnation.  We hear often about “that one” on the staff that has a bad attitude sloppy work habits, poor work ethic or worse yet provides very poor customer service. If you have one of those types of employees on your staff what are you doing about it?   Are you documenting their shortcomings?  Are you providing them with training?  Are you outlining quarterly development plans and then reviewing and documenting them when they don’t meet their goals?  And of course, once you have documented their failings are you getting rid of them?

I know it is hard to upset the staff by getting rid of someone, but sometimes it can be a really positive thing. In most companies, especially those where staffs have been together a long time, they know who the weak link is.  While you may be concerned it will have a negative impact on morale, it can actually do just the opposite. The remaining staff feels relieved and even happy that the person they likely have been complaining about is finally gone.

We also hear concerns that the subscribers will be upset if a staff person is removed.  First, even if they do like them they will certainly get over it.  If, however, they have experienced their incompetence or bad attitude directly they will also give you credit for removing the negativity from your staff.

The weakest link on your management chain can cause untold damage to your “brand” with subscribers over the years.  One bad experience with them and they will cast a pallor over the entire organization. We see it all the time in the satisfaction surveys we field. An agent will be complaining about a bad customer service call and they will reflect their frustration in their ratings throughout the survey even on issues that have nothing to do with the complication they experienced.

A good rule of thumb. At least annually or ideally quarterly, review the performance of each of your staff and continue to look for the weakest link. Some merely need coaching and more specific direction, but some need to go.  By clearing out the weakest person the overall performance of your team will increase and you will be able to spend more time focused on chasing the upside and exceeding your goals.

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