When you have a manager who says they're holding onto a poor performer in order to hit goal, correct them immediately.
If they believe they need a certain amount of people on the team, regardless of how good they are, to hit a goal, they don't get it. When you hang onto poor performers, the message you're sending to the rest of the team is that you don't care about helping them grow and that you're a weak leader.
When managers make this excuse, they're not holding the team to a high standard or raising the bar. If they're keeping Joe on, who is barely meeting the minimum requirements, it shows they accept the bare minimum.
Top talent doesn't want to work for this type of leader. They want to be pushed, challenged and held accountable. They want to work for someone who isn't going to make excuses and settle for mediocracy. It's addition by subtraction. When you remove the poor performers, you're giving others the opportunity to step up.
No one sets a goal thinking the circumstances will be the exact same at the end as it was at the start. Of course we wish to have everything go exactly as planned. That doesn't happen.
A sign of a great leader is someone who makes the decision to let go of a poor performer and jump right in to do the role. They're not so far removed from the day-to-day and can roll up their sleeves and grind it out alongside the team to hit goal.
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