Joe is the owner of a small firm with 20 employees. One day, his co-founder told him, “Joe, the investors are asking us to cut costs. We have to fire four people. Can you evaluate them and let me know your decision? Thanks.”

Joe was worried about them losing their job. But he realized that maybe it is in the best interest of his company. He also read a blog to check if he is a bad boss or not.

The Four Horsemen of Organization-calypse?

For the lack of a better word, let us go with this only. Anyway, Joe started talking to all team members to find their opinion of their colleagues. With the promise of complete anonymity and a beer, he was able to jot down who was who.

1. Jake – The “Get By” Employee

Jake is the person who slides into the work on Mondays and slides out smoothly every Friday night. He doesn’t cover anyone else’s shift if needed. Joe remembers, “Once I had asked Jake to prepare a small product brief because our copywriter Jessica was on leave. He refused by saying that it is not in his job description.”

Jake always works when his deadlines are about to face him. He always volunteers to work on those tasks which do not require much effort. His colleagues often complain that Jake is just doing the bare minimum while we are pulling the project up.

Joe does not want to work with an employee who has a “getting by” attitude. And neither should you. Let such employees go.

2. Susan – The “Split Personality” Employee

“But Susan is such a good employee.”, thought Joe. Joe never heard anything bad about Susan and she is on good terms with the management. Susan is always eager to participate in new projects and is such a great team player. 

But one thing is odd about the eager Susan; every time Joe glances out of his cabin, Susan is gossiping with a new person. And now Joe is hearing that Susan accepts tasks and then hands them over to the colleagues stating some emergency and then submits them under her own name. What Joe is hearing about Susan is completely different from what he thought of her.

Joe does not want an employee like Susan to be on the team who shows fake enthusiasm and manipulates the team. And neither should you. Let such dual personality employees go.

3. Harry – The “Felix Felicis” Employee

I am sure that you all have seen/read Harry Potter at least once. Do you remember the magic potion Felix Felicis which was actually luck as a liquid in a small vial? So, Joe also has an employee whose name is Harry, but not Potter. Harry closed a great customer last weeḳ. He also converted another customer off the phone yesterday. And the project he is a part of, Harry is the only person who delivered his end of the tasks on time. It almost looks like Harry drinks Felix Felicis.

But after talking to others, Joe came to know that the customer Harry closed was actually nurtured by Sally. Harry finalized the deal one day after Sally quit. The customer Harry was able to convert on the phone was worked by Donna. She was sick and Harry took the call. Harry delivers all tasks on time because his tasks require less effort and fewer iterations than others. When Joe assigned a true leadership task to Harry, he was unable to deliver. Not once but thrice.

Joe does not want an employee who got lucky a few times and became a “success story”. Standing on the shoulders of the giant is not the kind of environment he wants to promote. And neither should you. Let go of “fake success stories” in your organization.

4. Janet – My “Best Friend” Employee

Joe always thought of Janet as his best friend in the office. They chatted about work and Janet always listened to his woes. Janet has supported his work and handled Joe at his lows and highs. She is a great employee. Or so Joe thought.

The team interviews revealed that Janet was spending too much time with Joe and didn’t do much throughout the day. After thinking hard for a moment, Joe realized that it was Janet who would bring him coffee, ask him what was bothering him, and talk to him while he was working.

Joe knew in his heart that asking Janet to go will be hard and she will throw a tantrum. But he does not want people like Janet who are not giving ROI to the business. And neither should you. Most managers make friends with the team member who is not the hardest working person. Learn to let such employees go.

There you have it, folks!

I am sure that you must have found a little reflection of yourself in Joe and have come across at least one of the employee types I discussed above. The bare minimum employee will get the work done but will not help the team to improve their productivity. The split personality will face their managers with a big smile on their face but will scowl behind their back and spread negativity on the floor. The lucky employee may have closed some good ends this time but give them time to show their true capabilities. It is only under pressure that the coal becomes a diamond.

Being a manager is tough but you won’t be one if you are breaking bread with such employees in your team. Businesses run on ROI, not on emotions. See things for the way they are before someone makes you see them. For more such blog posts, subscribe to our newsletter!