What is worse than being fired? Being ignored. As a leader, ignoring one or more team members is a form of punishment, and most of us never think of the impact. There are many contributing factors: a team that’s too big, a few go-to members, or inexperienced members who need extra attention. Any of these can cause us to ignore members of our team. Whatever the excuse, there are three key impacts we need to be aware of.
First, when you ignore one of your team members, you are not providing feedback, negative or positive. This lack of feedback leaves the team members in the dark on what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Since they do not know the impact of their performance, they will lose confidence and their actual performance and engagement will be reduced.
Second, when you have a few members, who are your go-to people, that means the rest of the team is ignored some or most of the time. This creates an in-group and an out-group. This divide in your team creates unhealthy competition. The out-group will attempt to get attention. If they don’t get it, they will just disengage from the work.
Finally, ignoring a member of your team is to deny them of your attention and leadership. A team member denied can lead to anger, which can lead to unethical behavior. If working within the system does not get them the feedback they need, they will start working outside the system to get the attention they believe they deserve.
So, as a leader, recognize that doing nothing is ignoring your team. You want to Nurture Growth in all of your team members. Provide them with feedback on what is working and what is getting in the way. Support them as they approach and reach their goals. Inspire them to achieve more. And perhaps more than anything else, see more in them then they see in themselves.
In other words, Lead!