Last time, I introduced you to a book I’ve been reading, Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud. We talked about how sometimes we need to end a process we’ve been doing for a long time because it no longer serves a purpose or makes sense. And while some processes become sacred, those are a lot easier to deal with than the next item on our list. People.
Sometimes You Need to End People
OK, maybe that sounds worse than it is; you don’t really need to end them, but their role in the team needs to end. Something about what they are doing is causing more harm than good and it’s time to create an ending for them. This can look different in various situations, but the key is to deal with it swiftly and clearly.
Years ago, I had a young man on my presentation team. By all accounts, he was great at running Media Shout (it was a while ago, OK?). He was pretty much always on each slide, and had a great sense of timing. He could read the worship leaders and knew instinctively when they were going to change something up. In short, he was on top of it. At least, when he showed up.
A few months into my time there, he started showing up late for call. At first, it was 15-20 minutes, and he would text first. I put up with it for a few months, because he could catch up and still do a good job. But then, he started showing up later and later. One weekend, he was close to an hour late without any word. I finally called him, he apologized profusely and ran in late.
We had a long talk that night after service. I told him that I was glad he was on the team, and he always did a great job. But I really needed him to be there on time. His lateness put a lot of stress on me, which in turn, put stress on the rest of the team. He apologized and promised to do better. You probably know where this is going.
The next time he was scheduled—and I even sent him two reminders that week—he was late. So late in fact, he never made it. I tried to contact him and he never responded. When I finally did get a hold of him, we talked and I informed him he was no longer part of our team. While I appreciated the job he did when he was there, it was unfair to the rest of the team to continually show up late or not at all.
The bottom line is that while it was nice to have the position filled, eventually, his being late caused way too much stress for me and the rest of the team. When I had to do his job before he got there, I was not available to help out with the rest of set up, which stressed out everyone else. Not knowing when he might grace us with his presence was annoying, and I’m sure I got snarky with others because I was ticked at him.
We hate to fire volunteers. But sometimes, they are doing more harm than good. Having a position “filled” by someone who is constantly late, not good at the task, a jerk or difficult to work with is worse than not having the position filled. It poisons the rest of the team, and keeps others who would be better suited to the task from stepping up and serving.
If you have someone who needs to be transitioned off your team, do it this week. Harsh? Maybe, but you’ll be doing yourself, and probably them, a big favor. If you need motivation, ask yourself if in 6 months or a year you still want to be dealing with the struggles with this person. Is there any indication that they will change? If not, move them on. Sooner is better.
Speaking of moving on, that will be the subject of the next post.