Identifying the Right Team-Member Roles as a Leader

I sometimes encounter the question “What do you do when your team starts to falter or produce less than stellar results—how do you turn things around and recover?”

Leaders have a difficult job. They have to set vision. They often initiate change.

Many are in a “player-coach” management or leadership role where they are doing some of the frontline work themselves. They occasionally have the difficult task of exiting someone from their employment. And in the midst of doing all of this, they need to be continually assessing the performance and engagement of each individual member amid their own responsibilities.

When your team is struggling and likely not achieving the goals you and they had hoped for, leaders need to confront reality as they carefully examine each team member’s performance to determine if you’ve got the wrong people in the wrong seats, or perhaps some of the wrong people altogether.

As work changes, business grows, and group or team goals shift, there are situations where what were the required skillsets have now changed and the job has outgrown the person.

The hope is that the person has grown and developed with the job, but that is not always the case. Diving into this further, you may need to ask if the individual has had the wrong coaching, if they have the proper tools and, being self-reflective, if they have the right leader.

Understanding if you’ve got the right people in the right roles is an important leadership skill.

You need to determine if they are capable of accomplishing the results they need to achieve. And if they're capable but just haven't had the right resources or tools or coaching, well, then you know where to start.

If you believe a team member is incapable of developing the right skillset, don’t force the issue. Could they learn? Maybe. But better energy might be spent going with that person’s natural talents and abilities, even if it’s elsewhere in the team or organization.

Spending time on making sure your team members have the tools and resources they need to reach their full potential—and that they are in roles where their skills and talents can be fully utilized across projects—is a critical job of every leader.

When that happens, you will have highly engaged team members who will exceed your expectations and theirs.

Are you a senior leader faced with implementing a must-win initiative in the shortest amount of time, yet requiring maximum employee engagement? Download our latest guide to execute your strategic goals and create breakthrough results.

About the Author

Todd Davis

Todd Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, training and training development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. Todd is currently a member of the FranklinCovey Executive Team where he serves as the Chief People Officer. He is also a bestselling author with two books to his credit, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations for Tapping the Unlimited Potential of People.

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