When sentiment is misapplied, it becomes a dangerous flaw for a leader and their team. Sentiment is a root cause of partiality and favoritism. It causes leaders to overlook flaws in people they care about. That decision to see things through sentimental eyes puts the team at a direct disadvantage. It calls into question what the actual priorities of the leader are by saying, “I like them and I want them around even if it means we won’t be as good.” The best teams communicate care without sacrificing the team’s potential.
Sentiment is a dangerous part of human nature. It’s dangerous because we should care for people. It’s not like we can turn off our sentiment. We must let it live within us without allowing it to control as at the wrong moments. Sentiment can demonstrate what is best in humanity by making decisions at the right time to care for others. Sentiment can also demonstrate the worst of humanity when we allow it to cloud our eyes by allowing care to supersede just and correct decisions.
People get second or even third chances but what happens if someone hits a lid in their personal development? Time has a way of illuminating the facts of a situation like nothing else. We must be slow to decide on someone’s potential, but when given enough time to examine the whole body of work, a call should be made. I am not saying it is an easy call to transition someone who just can’t seem to perform as well as the team needs. It is a necessary call to make.
We have all heard the excuses and disagreements about the reasons why someone has performed poorly or made a mistake. All the apologies and plans in the world lose credibility without the intended results becoming a reality. Time will tell if someone is properly motivated and actually has the ability to change. Time will also tell if someone may be in the wrong position on the team. Consistently poor performance and repeat mistakes may be an indicator that a seat change or transition is necessary.
Apologies are important but they begin to lose their importance if they have to be repeated for the same mistake. A team needs to hear a plan of action that will prevent the chronic mistake to regain confidence in a constantly contrite teammate. People can change, but not without intention. Sorry as a phrase doesn’t make anything better unless it communicates a true remorse that motivates a desire to change. That desire is better communicated with an intentional plan of action that accomplishes that change.