Caring about people and how they develop is what good leaders do, but sometimes caring too much can be cruel. Leaders care too much when they know team members are not up to the job but keep them in the role anyway.
They often do this because they care. They want to do the right thing by others. But this is living in denial. By showing compassion to these underperformers, they unwittingly create torture they can’t fully comprehend.
Imagine what it must be like to wake up every morning and to know deep in your heart and mind that you will fail again today. Self-confidence becomes eroded, self-esteem diminished and the feeling that others know you shouldn’t be on the team quickly eats away at self-respect.
Maybe that team member is lucky. Maybe they lack self-awareness about any of this. They remain only partially tuned in to how others see them. Sadly, the leaders who like and care about them make a myriad of excuses as to why they won’t be honest and deliver the tough love necessary for everyone to prosper in the future. The situation becomes dark.
The truth is, walking people to the door can sometimes be the best outcome in the long term. Those undervalued in this role or organization often find an esteemed niche somewhere else and go on to experience the everyday success everyone deserves to enjoy.
In reality, leaders who care too much and refuse to face the facts about those who need a fresh start elsewhere make these underperformers prisoners. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets, as teammates avoid, ignore, and bad-mouth these poor souls when they can’t depend on them to perform.
Like all hostages or prisoners, when the ordeal finally comes to an end, usually much too late, those freed from the torture and asked to go elsewhere maintain a steady stream of disgust and distaste about the leader and the organization.
One leader describes the scene as wolves howling at a full moon in revenge for their treatment. This is the direct result of a leader who cares too much. People always deserve the right to succeed where their talents and skills allow them to. Sometimes caring too much is actually caring too little.