It’s not uncommon for business owners or managers to believe they’re held hostage by one or more team members who play key roles in their operations.
The feeling of being held hostage by anyone or anything is not a comfortable one. 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, and beliefs of this type must be changed to attain higher levels of happiness and success in both business and life.
As a business owner or manager, you have team members who are top producers and other team members who hold positions critical to the daily operations of the company. While these individuals might be filling very important roles, they also could be contributing to a negative work environment. They might not be fully supportive of the company philosophy, objectives and goals and actually could be hindering the forward progress of the entire organization. Typically, it’s believed 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 a particular team member, ask yourself why you believe this is to be true so you can explore your situation. One reason might be that you have not “loaded your bench” with potential superstars who can be immediately brought into your company should the need arise. To eliminate this barrier, remain on constant lookout for individuals who meet your criteria, who want to work with your business and you can bring in as needed.
To create further clarity for yourself, take time to write out the characteristics of the team member in question, what they bring to the company and what they do that limits the effective and efficient operations of the business.
From this vantage point, you can move in a direction to help this person create improvements in their attitude and behaviors. Often times, a team member is able to make positive changes once they become conscious of what they’re doing that’s not beneficial.
Another effective option is to bring in a professional to work with the identified team member or members who need improvement. It’s often more effective to hire someone from outside the company — a coach or consultant who is well-equipped, objective and unbiased and can work with your people at a far more effective level. Human beings are only held hostage by their own limiting beliefs. A qualified professional can help you and those on your team reach higher levels of professional and personal development.
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 and aren’t in alignment with the direction of the company.
It’s important to understand there will be instances in which team members are unwilling to change for the better, even with comprehensive coaching or training. In these situations, I have discovered people who are not happy with their jobs, those who would likely leave on their own if they didn’t also feel held hostage by their particular situations. These team members are often limited by their beliefs as to their career options outside of their current job, their capability to find another job 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 themselves held hostage by their current professional reality, fear is the main force with which to deal. When we work together to take powerful actions that eliminate fear, we create a win-win situation for both the business and team member. 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 proved themselves unwilling to learn and grow. In addition, the team members who were let go found greater happiness and success elsewhere.
These team members have often communicated to me, after the fact, their appreciation for all they learned and how much happier they are in their new jobs. This only comes to pass as a result of someone making a powerful decision.
Are your beliefs holding you hostage? It’s not always an easy question to ask, but it’s an important question to the future growth and development of your company and your people.