Five Fatal Flaws for an Employee

Many times, a business or organization is faced with a tough decision concerning keeping an employee or letting an employee go. Those moments as a leader or manager are never easy, but a situation or event has forced a decision to be made. How to evaluate and document what is essential to the organization is critical. Understanding what can be fixed and what cannot are important questions.

Here are my five fatal flaws that would cause a serious conversation about termination:

  1. Lack of ability to learn from mistakes – We all make mistakes; mistakes are part of the human experience. I don’t worry too much about what I call “one-off” mistakes. “One-off” mistakes are missteps that happen just once. What catches a leader’s attention is the same type of mistake that is being made repeatedly. A mistake is corrected, but the person then keeps making the same mistake over and over again, disrupting the productivity of business. Not learning from mistakes is a fatal flaw. 
  2. Lack of emotional intelligence – A person who lacks the ability to control or regulate his/her emotions and/or how that person relates to people is a ticking time bomb. Self-awareness is critical. A person who lacks emotional intelligence will create problems with other employees, customers, and critical stakeholders. Soft skills are so crucial in today’s workforce, and a person who creates friction in the work setting has a fatal flaw. 
  3. Lack of core competencies – Businesses are lean today. There is no room for people to “float” and not make a difference immediately in the work setting. Understanding what your core competencies are and how they fit in the workplace is critical. Core competencies lead to productivity, credibility, and leading. When a person lacks productivity and the ability to get things done, they will find that the organization moves on without them. Lack of core competencies is a fatal flaw. 
  4. Lack of initiative – The workplace is dynamic and continuously changing. There is little time to tell a person what they should be doing or that they need to start doing something. An employee can no longer wait around to be told what to do. People who take the initiative are prized employees and make a difference in business.  Lack of initiative is a fatal flaw. 
  5. Lack of accountability – It is never a good situation when people in an organization refuse to take responsibility or accountability. When people dodge being accountable and are quick to point the finger at someone else, the organization is in a death spiral. Taking ownership of a project, situation or outcome is critical for a high performing organization. The long-term success of a business depends on accountability. The lack of accountability is fatal flaw. 

When you work with many different types of people, you come to recognize when coaching and training can make a difference and when an employee has fatal flaws. It is never easy terminating an employee, but the five fatal flaws erode the core success of a business or organization.