Are you held hostage by a member of your team?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

It’s quite common for business owners and managers to feel they’re held hostage by one or more team members who play key roles. The belief is that these individuals possess sensitive information and perform vital functions within daily operations, and letting them go or taking any action that might upset them will leave the company in a desperate position.

The feeling of being held hostage by anyone or anything isn’t a comfortable one. When faced with this reality, you might believe you’re powerless to change your circumstances: that you’re at the mercy of others and the situation. This is only a belief, however, and beliefs of this type must be changed to attain more happiness and success.

Every business has team members who are top producers and other team members who hold positions critical to daily operations. While these individuals might fill important roles, they also could contribute to a negative work environment. They might not fully support the company philosophy, objectives and goals. In fact, they might actually hinder the progress of the entire organization.

It’s typically believed that if these team members were to leave or be let go, business would suffer. This is being held hostage, and it’s not true.

If you feel held hostage by one or more team members, an effective option is to bring in a professional to work with you and the identified team member or members who need improvement or need to be let go. Hiring a coach or consultant who’s objective and well-equipped to help you deal with these sensitive situations constitutes a great investment in the company as a whole.

Human beings are only held hostage by their own limiting beliefs. A qualified professional can help you and your managers develop alternate beliefs that position the company for growth and increased success.

Sometimes, a team member is able to make positive changes once they become aware that what they’re doing isn’t beneficial. This isn’t always the case, though, and it’s important to understand there will be instances in which team members are unwilling to change for the better, even with comprehensive coaching and training.

In the end, it must be determined whether or not this team member is a good fit for the company. In my experience as a professional business coach and consultant, it’s always a positive choice to set those team members free who have no interest in learning and growing or aligning with the company’s values, mission and direction.

In these situations, the individuals aren’t happy with their jobs and would likely leave on their own if they didn’t also feel held hostage by their particular circumstances. These team members are often limited by their own beliefs as to career options outside their current jobs, their ability to find other jobs they’d like and their personal financial needs, to name a few.

The bottom line is that when business owners, managers and team members believe they’re held hostage by their current professional realities, fear is the main force to deal with. When effective actions are taken to manage and even eliminate fear, a win-win situation is created for businesses and  team members. Whether the team member adjusts and stays or is removed, a strong decision is made and each is set free.

The businesses I work with have, without exception, improved their  situations by letting go of any team member who’s unwilling to learn and grow. In addition, team members who were let go found greater happiness and success elsewhere. These individuals have often communicated to me after the fact their appreciation for all they learned and how much happier they are in their new jobs.

Do you feel held hostage by one or more of your team members? This is often a challenging question to ask yourself and an even more challenging question to answer truthfully. No one wants to admit to feeling at the mercy of another. However, it’s a vital question to the overall success of your company.