One type of detractor you might have on your team is a square peg. Square pegs have the willingness to do well, but they lack the skills to perform effectively.
One type of detractor you might deal with is a square peg. They’re going to be in the lower left corner of the leadership matrix. You’re investing a lot of time and energy into them, but not getting a lot back in terms of results.
Square pegs have the willingness to do well, but they lack the skills to perform effectively. Sometimes it’s due to being placed in a new role. Other times it’s a function of them not having the training or resources they need. You’ll spend a lot of leadership capital on a square peg because you need to help them develop and grow. You’ll also spend that time and energy on fixing work they’re not doing correctly. Leaders have to figure out the root of the performance gap and help that square peg build the skills they need to perform effectively.
You might have a square peg on your hands if they regularly need rework. They may ask for time extensions. And their work needs to be repaired a lot of times. They’re unable to perform core tasks up to your expectations. Sometimes they even repeat the same errors. Other people tend to work around them. These square pegs are often mentioned as a source of other people’s problems. Sometimes a square peg might be territorial. They may come across as insecure or highly stressed. Sometimes these people are very hard to help.
I had one square peg on one of my consulting teams. Coming into the consulting engagement, I knew he was lacking some skills. That was the good news. The bad news was I had to invest a lot of time and energy helping him build those skills. He did analysis; a lot of times, it was wrong. I’d have to sit down with him, work through the model, and show him how to build it correctly. His presentation pages didn’t look that great. I was not going to put his pages in front of the client. A lot of times, I redid the pages myself. It took a lot of time and energy on my part.
The good news is he was aware of his skill gaps coming into the engagement. He was also very motivated to fix those gaps. When I would sit down with him to go over his analysis or his pages, he was all ears. He was taking notes and trying to improve. It made it a lot easier to work with him. Over the course of the four months we worked together, I did see his skills improve dramatically.
If you have a square peg on your team, they’re going to be pretty easy to spot. Their work isn’t up to standard and you’re going to spend a lot of time helping them build skills and bring their work to a level of quality that’s acceptable to you.
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