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Drop the ax on mediocrity

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Barclays PLC faced a challenge in 2002: The financial services firm needed to compete with other firms, such as Morgan Stanley, that were much larger. “Trying to catch them was just going to be too difficult,” says COO Paul Idzik.

So, says Idzik, they opted to “lift out” entire departments and replace underperforming employees with high-achieving managers.

“This is an example of how doing the right thing is often hard,” he says.

Most leaders agree that mediocre employees can do a lot of harm; not only do they produce ho-hum work, but they drive out top-tier employees.

Look for these telltale signs of mediocre employees who:
  • Are stubborn and resist change
  • Are reactive rather than proactive
  • Are lazy and unprepared
  • Make promises, but they don’t deliver results
  • Shirk responsibility and pass on blame
  • Identify problems without finding solutions.
— Adapted from “Barclays’ Idzik: ‘Doing Things Right Is Often Hard,’” Stanford GBS News; “Building Loyalty,” John C. Maxwell, Leadership Wired.

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