I really found this web post about mediocrity quite inspiring and a great business post. It comes from Jeff Swanson of Ardent Consulting, and I found it worth sharing.

The Danger of Settling for Mediocrity

As business owners and leaders we cannot let good employees at any level get away from us. People leave for many reasons, some external ones we can control, but all internal reasons we must beware of and work hard to mitigate.

One such internal reason for employees leaving happens when mediocrity is allowed to become pervasive in organizations. The best people want to work for great leaders and will not tolerate mediocrity at any level.

Never Settle for Mediocrity in Your People Especially Team Leaders

Recently, a company hired a manager to take over and lead a very high performing team. This manager’s credentials were solid. They had the experience and, seemingly, the leadership qualifications the company needed.

Unfortunately, this manager did not strive for excellence, and did only what they had to do – not what their staff and the business needed them to do to be successful. This manager’s subordinates realized this first, and the ones that appreciated strong leadership, high standards, and wanted to succeed, all started to quit. Those who that had lower standards, or those who did not understand the hard work and organization it takes to be successful, remained.

With this transition to mediocrity, the business showed signs of decline with basic things not getting done, customer count dropping and the best team members leaving.

The company coached and retrained the new manager, but good team members still quit and the people they were being replaced with were not qualified. In addition, other managers in the company were demotivated by the presence of a peer who did not have the same level of accountability and excellence. It was feared they too would leave.

Be Decisive and Quick

Even though a vacancy in this key position would put stress on other associates, and could leave business at risk by being short handed, the choice was made to terminate the new manager quickly and decisively. Along with the obvious short term problems this manager was causing, the reputation of the business externally and the internal culture built in the company was deteriorating which could take months and years to repair.

Allowing the mediocrity to continue would erode the company’s culture of excellence and accountability, which had made the business successful. Externally the company suffered an injured reputation in two ways.

First, the best people that quit were the ones the company wanted to hire more of. Their peers knew of the problems with the new manager so an excellent source of talent diminished.

Second, customers noticed the loss of quality employees because the level of service they came to expect deteriorated over a short time period, resulting in a loss of customers. Worse yet, customers stopped talking about the business positively and told negative things to prospective customers. This hurt critical word of mouth advertising.

Mistakes Happen – Remedy Them

Obviously the company did a poor job hiring, but that is another topic of discussion. Mistakes happen and the company remedied the situation by not tolerating the mediocrity of the now former manager. The company’s quick and decisive action stopped the mediocrity from hurting the business deeply long term.

If you have managers that consistently have high turnover, or are always complaining about how their staff underperforms, look closely at that manager’s behavior toward their staff and in how they hire and train their workers. Usually when this consistency exists, the manager needs to be coached and retrained and hopefully reformed. This will enable their team to become stronger so your company can grow and not wallow in mediocrity.