The Straight Truth


Wait! Stop! Can you please do your job?

It’s really hard on a team when a “team member” does not do their “part” and others are left to rescue, fix and save with no time to address the behavior of the slacker. Why doesn’t the manager get with it and get after the under performers? Believe it or not the manager is often unaware of how much rescue, fixing and saving is going on. The manager can’t hear the discontent over the loud and steady drumbeat of GET IT DONE AND MOVE ON, GET IT DONE AND MOVE ON.

The Real Problem and How to Fix It.

If you find yourself completely frustrated by needing to rescue, fix and save to get work done and in by the deadlines you face, the real problem is that your team isn’t a team. Here are two solutions:

  1. Call the problem out. In your next staff meeting call out the fact that when work is not done by when everyone agrees there is a lot of rescue, fix and save going on that falls on you and others. “I need input on how to handle this.” Then listen, take notes, repeat back what you heard as solutions and decide if that is going to address the problem you are experiencing. If not, say so. “This does not solve the rescue, fix and save that goes on constantly, can I continue to get feedback on my role in this? Is anyone willing to work with me offline so I can get additional input?” Then follow-up. Bring it up again in the next staff meeting. “The additional feedback worked and here is what is happening now,” or “There hasn’t been any progress in decreasing the ‘rescue, fix, save’ going on around here – what am I missing?”Notice I am coaching you to use “I”. Stick with your own experience, concern and frustration.
  2. Stop the rescue, fix and save behavior. One of the reasons rescue, fix and save behavior remains a staple in a culture is that conscientious employees just can’t stand to let something fail, a deadline be missed or work to be crappy. So, they fix it. But how will the employees who are happy to let their work fall on others ever learn, this is not acceptable? You could very well be the barrier to someone stepping up and learning, so when it won’t cause harm or put anyone’s life in danger, “fixers” have to stop! Let the deadline be missed or the project be missing that person’s work. Don’t proof or check work that needs to be right. Pass it through to where it is going and if it is wrong, the poor performance can be documented by the boss. Let the team know that going forward your plan is to stop confusing “being a team player” with rescue, fixing or saving the work of others. It seems like a harsh step but it’s actually a courageous one.

The number one benefit of addressing the amount of “rescue, fix, and save” that goes on in the work place is creating time to do the job you are there to do.

Rescue, Fix, Save Creates Retention Problems

Not holding underperformers accountable punishes the best performers as they often get the work of the underperformer. And, pretty soon, the best performers leave if there are options. The organization is then left with everyone who needs to be managed. It’s a gigantic retention issue when “rescue, fix, save” is not addressed.

If you are a manager and you are the one doing all the rescue, fix and save it’s time to brush up on your “holding employees accountable” skill. Use the Human Resource process that is in place for just such a purpose each time, every time, or call a big time out and learn about team accountability and how to put it in place in a way that really bonds the team. Real teams are groups of people that hold each other accountable and create little or no need for a “manager”. This will challenge managers to become true team leaders. At the end of the day the energy exerted to rescue, fix and save can be channeled to top team performance instead of the head banging frustration that leaves many wanting to yell “Can you please just do your job??!!” You have a role in creating the work culture you want. Take a step and stop contributing to what you don’t want. Personal accountability is yours to do with what you will. Use it or lose it.