As I was pondering the topic for the first 2016 Leadership Tips the story broke that Dabo Swinney, the coach of the Clemson Tigers sent three players home the day before the playoff game with Oklahoma. “We have rules,” Swinney said. “When you break them, you put me in a situation where we’re going to do what’s right.” See the interview here.
Leadership is not for the faint hearted. Yes, a college football coach does have a different relationship with his players than leaders have with their teams; however, both have the responsibility to do the right thing.
What results when the leader chooses not to do the right thing? Dabo could’ve let the three players play through the bowl season and penalized them later. If he had allowed his players to stay and play, his message to everyone would have been “rules are not important and the end justifies the means”. The players next year will think I can ignore the rules – it’s not really that important.
Hire well and fire early was my moto in all of my leadership roles. My experience was that if a person wasn’t working out in three months, they wouldn’t be working out in 12 months. I understand that companies and organizations have due process rules to protect employees and leaders must be diligent about following them. Following due process is time consuming and burdensome – and worth the effort for the benefit of the team and the business. Follow the rules and give that problem person the opportunity to succeed someplace else.
Let go of doing the easy thing in 2016 and do the right thing.
Contact me to learn how to do the right thing – communicate clearly, make expectations clear, hold people accountable and have those difficult discussions. Initial consultation is complimentary.