I get this question all the time from Leaders.
How do I get Jim to change? He's hurting our team but I don't want to fire him.
I usually quip - work on your leadership and the right people follow. But when pressed, I ask three questions:
Question 1: Have you clarified your expectations beyond a shadow of a doubt?
Does Jim know what he is supposed to do? When he is supposed to do it? How he is supposed to do it? What attitude is required? What results should be caused? What resources and tools are available for his tasks? Are the rewards for excellent performance spelled out? Are the consequences for poor performance clear? If the answer is yes to all of these questions - move to question two.
Question 2: Is this a transactional relationship?
Most relationships are transactional - if you do something for me, I will give you something in exchange. As long as both parties receive the value they think is fair, a transactional relationship will remain in balance. If one party feels they are giving too much or not getting enough, the trust, efficiency, and effectiveness of the relationship begin to fray.
If you are in a transactional relationship, you must create a connection with "Jim" to ensure constant tending and management of the expectations of the relationship. Rules, boundaries, and expectations must be met promptly and professionally; the integrity of the relationship is based on the leaders ability to keep his or her end of the bargain. If you want greater results in a transactional relationship, you usually have to find a way to increase the rewards package - be it money, time, recognition, freedom, etc... . In transactional relationships the rules for performance and reward should be black and white; excellence is rewarded with increased awards and poor performers should be required to improve or must be asked to leave the organization.
If you are in a transformational relationship, the leader is the key. Transformational relationships are long term partnerships. There are common goals, common understanding, common commitment to cause results, together. If you need someone to change in a transformational relationship, the leader needs to change. Then others will follow. This kind of internal change is the leaders choice; they change for the good of others. They change who they are being as a leader and what they are doing - and what they are causing is experienced by those around them. This experience is inspirational enough to create a deep desire for others to change their leadership. The critical difference is in the personal choice. When people choose to change themselves, it is transformational; the change is not based on fear or greed experienced in most transactional relationships. The personal choice is based on inspiration and fulfillment - powerful ingredients for long lasting leadership foundations.
In short, create clarity of expectations and consequences. Enforce the consequences promptly and consistently - good and bad, and continue to evolve as a leader to inspire others to grow and change as well.
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