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The impact of Joshua’s dilemma 

Tuesday I wrote to you about “Joshua,” a young employee who had taken the initiative to make himself several different roles within my client’s company. He was filling holes that he saw in what needed to be done, sometimes dropping some balls in the process. My client was frustrated with his performance. I used Joshua’s example to ask you if you were accommodating someone who had been “loyal and hardworking,” but may not deliver the performance your growing company needs. 

I got a lot of feedback on this message, both in my inbox and on LinkedIn, where I also posted a similar message. I got everything from, “I’m a fan of loyalty if you can find a fit, but it’s a business, not a charity. If performance isn’t happening, knowledge is not very valuable.” To “Make him CEO,” and “Tell him to start his own business!

Clearly there is a diversity of opinions on this topic, and I appreciate all the feedback I’ve gotten. Truly, it’s a gift that so many of you took time out to comment and email me!

You all had great observations;

This is not an employee problem it’s a management problem.

This is 100% correct. The Business Owner didn’t give Joshua a clear role with measurements for success and didn’t hold him accountable anywhere along the line. Joshua’s failures could have been avoided earlier if the business owner did a better job leading and managing him.

Joshua doesn’t get much of a voice in your scenario – very few people set out to do a bad job.

This is true — most employees are doing their best. Joshua applied his skills to areas where he saw a void. That kind of initiative is something that we generally want to reward in employees. If the managers had handled this differently along the way, we’d likely be talking about a different outcome.

He’s obviously engaged so I’d suggest some training & development & strong leadership so that he understands his role.

If we do want to keep him, Joshua needs to be given a role where he’s set up for success. Training and Development to give him the skills he needs to succeed would be a big part of that.

Now’s where you come in — do you agree with my feedback? Disagree? This is a topic that folks seemed to care about more than I expected and I’m sure I’ve left some pieces out here. Write me back, or leave me a comment on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you!

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