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  • Writer's pictureMalini

When People Don't Deliver

Establishing a connection with each team member from the start is a key part of leadership. It provides the team and leader with the language and context to communicate effectively. Without knowing each other on a human level, setting expectations and working together can be challenging.


Despite this relationship being mutually determined, team members may still fail to deliver. Dealing with this can be a challenging part of any leader’s job. It is important to center the humanity of the team member when you face this issue. Which means, there may be underlying issues that contribute to their lack of performance. Before taking action, take time to try and understand the root cause of the problem.


Before taking any action, take time to try and understand the root cause of the problem.

While it is likely uncomfortable for the manager, not doing anything in such a situation can do more harm than good. For example, the person who is not delivering may begin taking the work culture for granted and get too comfortable with how things are. Or, other team members may become demotivated and assume that it is acceptable and excusable to not deliver. That being said, if the issue is not addressed, it will impact other team members and the business as a whole.


The best route is one that is firm and fair. Here are some tips to address team members who are not delivering:

  1. Have a one-on-one meeting: Take the time to discuss the issue with the team member in a private setting. Listen to their perspective and provide feedback in order to gain a clear understanding of the issue.

  2. Set clear expectations: Make sure that the team member understands your expectations and the potential consequences for not meeting them. Do not skirt around the impact of what is being discussed.

  3. Provide support: Offer resources and guidance to help the employee reach their goals. Ensure they understand they are being given the opportunity to evolve and improve their performance.

  4. Take action: If the employee does not improve their performance, take disciplinary action. This could include a warning, a demotion, or even termination.


Most leaders do not want to lay people off - I resonate strongly with the sentiment! Not only because of the time that goes into recruiting and training but also because we are partially responsible for the growth and well-being of each person in the company. By following these four tips, you can build a culture of transparency, accountability and opportunity for growth.

1 Comment


Miriam Shah
Miriam Shah
Jun 01, 2023

I've been in this situation far too many times. Would have thought and acted differently every time had I read this first- thanks, Malini

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