Wrong person or wrong role?

Good employees tend to have three characteristics. They are intellectually honest, care a great deal about what they’re doing, and get things done. So if an employee falls short on one or more of these dimensions, it isn’t surprising if they don’t last long at your company.

However, just because an employee has all three attributes doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to succeed. In addition to having these three attributes, they also need to be in the right role.

Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. And different roles require people with different strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you place someone who isn’t analytical in a digital marketing role, they’re unlikely to succeed. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should part ways. Sometimes they’re just in the wrong role. As long as you continue to believe in their three core attributes, you might want to give them another chance in a role that better aligns with their strengths and doesn’t showcase their weaknesses. For example, if the employee finds it easy to build relationships, you might want to give them a shot in a sales role.

Sometimes employees fall short on intellectual honesty, care for what they’re doing, and getting things done, and do indeed need to be let go. But sometimes they’re simply in the wrong role. Being able to distinguish between the two is an important skill.

Before letting someone go, you should ask yourself whether they’re the wrong person, or whether they’re the right person in the wrong role. If it’s the latter, repositioning them in the right role is a great way to increase your company’s output without the adverse cultural and financial costs of letting people go.

Also published on Medium.