Or perhaps there is a new version of software they at one time were experienced with, but now their skills are outdated. Its best to delve a bit deeper into their current capabilities to make sure they are a fit for the job.
Most important, always ask yourself Is there anything else I could have done to help them be successful at their job? Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the manager to put the best team in place who can effectively and efficiently handle their assignments. That means making sure they have the right tools to succeed.
You may be thinking: what is the benefit for the organizations culture in taking this positive approach? Simply put, an environment will be created where the combination of positive energy, empowerment and taking risks can reap enormous long term benefits for the organization.
First, it saves an enormous amount of psychological energy potentially wasted by questioning the persons motive, which in turn frees up this energy to go directly toward real project work. You could be thinking about how to improve the situation instead of considering all the insidious motives the person probably didnt have.
Second, it enables the organization to develop leaders who are empowered to do the right thing and to take appropriate risks without having to worry about covering their rear end at all costs or about anyone questioning their true motives. Yes, that means more mistakes may be made, but also more likely successes and better yet, innovations.
Finally, taking a positive approach breeds positive people who like their jobs. This type of culture creates an environment where people want to come to work and are excited about their jobs. This is because as a result of the prior two points, people genuinely like their jobs and are more likely to stay for the long term, saving the organization money on recruiting and training.
Now, there is a huge difference between assuming good intentions and holding people accountable. This is where we get back to Steve.
The difference here is that Steve had a history of letting his team down. There was a clear pattern of unproductive behavior and this was the last straw. I still maintained a positive outlook as I gathered the facts, but in the end, this was a case of a true lack of accountability.
Here is the key. By treating this situation the same, it set a clear expectation to the rest of the team that good intentions will always be presumed, which will have a positive impact on everyone elses future actions. And that can only lead to positive results for the entire organization.
Eric Spiegel is CEO and co-founder of XTS, which provides software for planning, managing and auditing Citrix and other virtualization platforms.