"Irish is funny, popular, smart, and inquisitive, shows leadership inclinations and can be a real pain in the butt!"
Sound like anyone on your staff? We all have them or have had them. And unfortunately, we have all reached our limit at some point and pondered the inevitable, “Is it time for Irish to go?". The fact that Irish is a horse is inconsequential to this story. Horses, like people, exhibit the full range of personality traits with a similar effect on their peers. When a horse is acting up, the ripple it creates can wreak havoc on the productivity of the entire herd. And the problem is, if Irish were always bad it would be a simple decision to send him packing. But the reality is, Irish has the potential to be our best Pony, if only we could tame that mean streak and keep him from derailing the entire train!
When you are dealing with an “Irish” you have to leave your emotions on the curb and assess the Pros and Cons. Setting your emotions aside is sometimes difficult to do but absolutely necessary to objectively deal with the poor performance. And doing nothing is not an option.
So here is how we assess Irish:
We pay attention to what is REALLY going on; this keeps us from being distracted by miss-direction and allows us to apply the appropriate response.
We give immediate, clear, behavioral feedback; this way things don’t escalate and the trouble maker knows exactly why they are in trouble.
We keep notes, document behavior; in our optimism that things are going to turn around we sometimes lose track of just how bad things really are. Having on-going documentation keeps us focused and is a huge benefit if the process ends in termination.
We set consequences and let them be known; even horses learn non-negotiables and come to expect our response when they act out. This includes positive consequences for good behavior.
We are consistent in our expectation; and hold our horses to that standard. Like good parenting, consistency is critical to succeed in managing behavior. Remember the WHOLE TEAM is watching how you treat unacceptable behavior and will ACT accordingly.
Finally, We are steadfast in our final decision; it is never easy to say good-bye to a “good” horse but sometimes, the negatives are insurmountable and for the good of the herd we have to let a horse go. And while this is difficult, the pain is short lived and the relief is almost always immediate. You will know you made the right decision by the feedback (verbal and non-verbal) you receive from your staff.
Irish is still with us for now and as long as he continues to respond favorably to our routine, he will be treated as one of the herd. And while we have high expectations for Irish, we will not let his behavior keep us from achieving our goals with the other horses.
If you have an “Irish” on your staff, start by differentiating the annoyances from the real trouble. Having an effective performance appraisal process like Performance++ will help. Having the ability to easily make notations to an employee file and to set goals tied to mid-year performance evaluations is key to managing UP the Irish’s on your team.
If your club is suffering from an Irish on your staff or you would like help with other staff issues including low engagement, high turnover or simply want to raise the service culture bar write or call me and let’s talk about it.