Leadership by Amputation

In this week’s #LeadershipChat on Twitter (theme for the week: Courage in Business), the idea popped up about how courageous leadership sometimes involves letting go an underperformer – for the sake of the morale of the team.

Exit: Randy Moss, from the Minnesota Vikings.

The bottom line is, a leader has to constantly weigh the cost/benefit ratio of someone who has talent, but who either:

  • doesn’t perform up to it,
  • is in a mismatched role,
  • puts on a prima donna act,
  • refuses to follow the rules,
  • …or some combination thereof.

Randy Moss is not the first full-of-myself athlete to be cut from a team, and he won’t be the last. The Vikings took a risk signing him, but they did the right thing by getting rid of him quickly. A good lesson for all business leaders who know in their gut that they have someone on-board who is a net negative.

Amputate, before the infection spreads.


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Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

3 Responses to Leadership by Amputation

  1. Steve – An excellent example of proactive problem-solving as a core component of leadership. Sometimes the toughest decision a leader can make is to be preemptive in making sure that the greater good is maintained.

    Of course there is also the issue personal responsibility – a good leader (such as in this case where the Vikings went in knowing the risks in advance) will always raise their hand and admit that the mistake was theirs. In this case Moss was a symptom, not the problem. The problem was his hiring by the team, which the team admitted and corrected now, before the situation had a chance to become potentially much worse.

    Excellent use of a topical example to illustrate your point. I’m looking forward to more great collaboration and #LeadershipChat.


    Fred MClimans

  2. Sometimes no matter how great the potential might be, a leader must make a decision based on if the person fits with the overall picture, and clearly Randy Moss was not a fit!

    Being proactive can save in the long run, but being able to rectify a mistake quickly and efficiently is also a trait of an effective leader.

  3. Pingback: Blog Posts To Read Week of November 11, 2010

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