One of the hardest things for any leader to do is address performance or behavior issues with an employee. The most common excuse I hear is, “I don’t want to be mean” or said in a different way, “I think it’s just a rough spot and it’ll work itself out.”

But what few leaders stop to consider when using these excuses is that while they are focused on being “nice” to the employee who needs help, they are actually being “mean” to all the other employees in the department or organization suffering from those performance or behavior problems.

So, the question becomes, “Do you “love” your employees enough to help them succeed? Do you “love” them enough to be candid and mentor them through the rough patches – even if it means they are not a fit for your organization? For example, recently I had a team that needed to make some changes in their work structure and as a result they were reorganizing some positions. “Austin” had been an employee for many years and had been moved to several different positions because his work was barely average, he was hard to work with and a constant complainer. Both peers and leaders were content to be “nice” and just “move” him somewhere else to avoid a confrontation. This had been going on for more than 15 years! Austin was now over 40 years old and was oblivious to the negative impact he was having on the department. Had any of his current or previous leaders “loved” him enough to follow the COACH Model, his performance/behavior deficiencies could have been corrected or he would have sought other employment better suited to his skills and behaviors – either of which would have been a win/win proposition.

Creating dedication and loyalty in an Organizational Culture (OC) doesn’t happen by being “nice”, but it does happen by “loving” your employees enough to get actively involved and help them make the adjustments necessary for long-term success.

Here’s a rundown of how you can show your employees you “love” them enough to wade through the muck with them and COACHi for success, theirs and yours.

1. C ultivate a team atmosphere by,
2. O utline a vision that inspires everyone to work together toward a common goal.
3. A ccountaility – set and communicate SMART goals and high performance standards, gain buy-in and then hold everyone accountable for achieving them.
4. C oach performance in real time by providing immediate feedback on what’s working and what’s not so employees can make adjustments before issues arise.
5. H arness the momentum by recognizing and rewarding when employees make the adjustments needed to shine.

Providing feedback is not hard when you discuss issues before emotions get involved. When employees know you care enough about them to COACH them for success, you gain loyalty and dedication and if it’s truly not a “fit” the employee will move on, which is still a win.