This is part of the weekly ‘Ask Tristan’ series. If you have a question, please email me: [email protected]

Q: Dear Tristan, I’m a new manager & I’ve been working hard for the past 6 months to build a strong culture in our growing team. It’s going really well, except for one thing: I have a long-term team member who’s not participating.  This person turns up late to our huddles, is never prepared for meetings and nearly always finds a reason to complain. I’ve tried coaching and providing honest feedback, but nothing seems to work.  What should I do?   - TJ

A: Dear TJ,

Awesome work on committing to build a strong culture.  That’s one of the smartest decisions you’ll ever make :)

Now, building a strong family culture starts with selection.  Jim Collins taught us about getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off and everyone in the right seats in Good to Great.  It seems that this troublesome person you speak of is in one of two categories:

  1. Is on the wrong bus; or
  2. Is in the wrong seat.

Either way, something needs to change.  (And I’d bet that this person knows something needs to happen and is waiting for you to bring it up).

As a leader, it takes courage to commit to building a strong culture.  It takes even more courage to remove people that don’t fit.  However, it is one of your most important jobs.

You need to make an honest assessment of this person and decide where is the best place for them.  And the best place could well be in another seat or on someone else’s team.

Whatever you decide, be focussed on the future of your team, be honest with your communication and be respectful of that persons feelings.  In my experience, changes like these nearly always result in more energy for your team and an even stronger culture once the change is made.

Trust your intuition and treat people as you’d like to be treated.

Good luck,