24 Entrepreneurs Share Ideas on How to Deal With a Person That’s Not Right for the Team

Workplace issues can contribute to employees' bad conduct and in extreme circumstances cause termination of employment. Business owners should carry out due diligence while hiring a new team and also invest extra time, resources and energy in bringing out the best side of the individuals they hire. If a new/existing employee is frustrating, there are various ways you can deal with it.

Here's what entrepreneurs and business owners suggested as the best ways to deal with a person that's not right for the team.

#1- Not at all

Photo Credit: Keesjan Engelen

The best way to deal with someone who isn’t right for the team is not at all. We place huge importance on interviewers learning to discern when candidates are presenting themselves dishonestly. This, in addition to extensive vetting keeps us from having hires that do not mesh with the rest of the company.

Thanks to Keesjan Engelen, Titoma!

#2- Figure out the root cause

Photo Credit: David Cusick

Why isn’t he a good fit for the team? Is it because of a bad attitude, poor work behavior, or lack of skills? If you can point out the specific issue, you can try to find a solution. You may need to do a one-on-one meeting where you can clear the expectations and provide direction.

Thanks to David Cusick, House Method!

#3- Suggest a change of duties

Photo Credit: Saskia Ketz

Contact your manager and see if they can redistribute work so you can handle more complex jobs. Additional training for the coworker or the entire department can help reinforce expectations and standards. The possibility is that the coworker may be unfit as he has a mismatch between his duties and skills. This would necessitate your supervisor assessing your skill set to identify where you and your teammate are best utilized.

Thanks to Saskia Ketz, Mojomox!

#4- Consider transfers based on passions and interests

Photo Credit: Ben Wallington

There's a lot to be said about people who don't fit well into any team. The thing about people who don't play with others is that they might have a problem with authority, too. While we do get this problem once in a while, what usually works for our team is when we ask that person his passions and interests. Oftentimes, people who don't fit into any team can contribute greatly in another. Consider a transfer instead of letting go of that individual. Chances are, you'll have better luck if you try transferring this individual to another department instead.

Thanks to Ben Wallington, Designerwear!

#5- Communicate to reach a compromise

Photo Credit: Tim Sutton

There can be many reasons why a person may seem not to be the right fit for the team. For example, they may have some difficulties with the tasks and/or work environment, they may not be a team player, or they just aren’t capable of performing their jobs. It’s best not to jump to a conclusion and give up on a member right away. It’s important to communicate with them and have both sides open up about each other’s needs, difficulties, and goals to identify possible problems. Then, find solutions to work through the issues together. If the person isn’t willing to compromise or make any effort, it’s best for both sides to go separate ways due to conflicting needs.

Thanks to Tim Sutton, CoffeeGeek TV!

#6- Be okay with letting them go their own way

Photo Credit: Linn Atiyeh

I think that, as business owners, we can fall into the trap of assuming every problem has a solution. Sometimes, we need to acknowledge that things might not work out for reasons outside of anyone's control. If someone is not the right fit for your team or corporate culture, it may be best to just set them free. Since no one is at fault, I like to leave things on great terms by being flexible and advocating for the employee while they transition to a new workplace. Rather than being stuck forcing something that doesn't work, all parties will benefit in the long run from being free to find a more suitable situation.

Thanks to Linn Atiyeh, Bemana!

#7- Promote the team member

Photo Credit: Hosea Chang

Just because they don’t gel with their team members doesn’t mean that they're altogether unfit employees. But if one person is causing an otherwise productive team to suffer, you need to find a tactful way to reassign them. Instead of firing the person causing issues, think about promoting them. You may run the risk of upsetting other employees who think they are more deserving of a promotion, but if the promotion is lateral and comes without a substantial increase in compensation or influence, then it can be easily explained to the team why this person was reassigned. Your team can continue being productive and your problem child can start fresh somewhere new.

Thanks to Hosea Chang, Hayden Girls!

#8- Give them projects and work that can be done solo

Photo Credit: Eric Gist

When someone is not the best fit for the team, I try to give them projects and work that is able to be done solo. This helps them to continue to be a valuable asset to the team without running into team dynamic issues. Interviewers and hiring managers sometimes make mistakes and hire the wrong person, but you can make it work. Try to be fair and work alongside them to find a common ground.

Thanks to Eric Gist, AwesomeOS!

#9- Lay them off

Photo Credit: Ryan McEniff

As callous as it might be to say, laying them off is the best way to deal with someone who is not right for the team. You will know in the first 90 days if someone is not the right fit, and the best thing for them, you, and the team is to correct that mistake. The most common mistake CEOs make is procrastinating on firing someone. It's a terrible experience for everyone involved, and worst for the person being fired, but it is part of the job. Keeping someone who is not the right fit for the team is far worse long-term than removing them.

Thanks to Ryan McEniff, Minute Women Home Care!

#10- Figure out what their strengths are and reassign them

Photo Credit: Ouriel Lemmel

The best way to deal with a person who is not right for the team is to figure out what their strengths are and reassign them. It is likely the case that they were assigned to the team originally with a specific goal in mind. If they are not fulfilling this goal, take some time to look into areas where they could succeed. There is no need to count someone out completely if they’re not a good fit. Find the place where they might be a better fit and help them make the transition. This way everyone will be happy working in areas that best suit them.

Thanks to Ouriel Lemmel, WinIt!

#11- Keep posing questions

Photo Credit: Jessica Zhao

If you are feeling that a new hire is not jiving well with your team, you're going to want to have a conversation with them to discuss it. Ask questions about their experience so far being a part of this new team. Most people are aware when things aren't going so hot and will be quick to mention it. If not, you might have specific instances or projects to cite to support the issue. Keep posing questions that lead to a discussion of where the employee would feel happier, and if there are changes that need to be made to accommodate them. Ultimately, they might need to be let go, they may leave themselves, or they might be able to be internally transferred to something that is a better fit. In any case, a calm, respectful discussion is the best way to begin dealing with someone who is not right for the team.

Thanks to Jessica Zhao, Spacewhite!

#12- Check to see if they belong to another team

Photo Credit: Daisy Jing

It's impossible that this person doesn't belong to another team. Check if it's not an issue of character or attendance then see if this person still has a chance to do other things. From re-evaluating his skills to talking to his colleagues – just to know if this person is way better to work in another department given the circumstance that he is consistently nice and performing well. Sometimes, people apply to a certain job in the company just because that's the only open slot that time, but there might be more to this person so look for it before letting him go.

Thanks to Daisy Jing, Banish!

#13- Expel with immediate effect

Photo Credit: Casey Allen

Someone who's not right for the team should be expelled with immediate effect. This is a matter of doing justice to both the individual as well as the team. A team's efficiency is as good as the efficiency of the weakest link. This might not be a case of the individual being bad. It's natural that even the best of professionals just might not fit into a team or culture. Even from the individual's perspective, being in the wrong team can affect career growth and morale. It is ideal to cut ties off as soon as possible and move on.

Thanks to Casey Allen, Barista Warrior!

#14- Be completely transparent about the situation

Photo Credit: Ruben Gamez

You need to tell the concerned person about the reason why this person is not gelling with the team. If there is no willingness to listen, you should get rid of him/her then and there. If there is an attempt to improve the situation, there is nothing wrong with giving that space and time to make things work. Even under such circumstances, you should review improvement on a weekly or monthly basis.

Thanks to Ruben Gamez, Docsketch!

#15- Give them chances

Photo Credit: Michael Shen

When you have identified a person as not a good fit in your team, you don't fire them right away. You should ask yourself, How will this person fit into my team seamlessly and efficiently? Answering this question will uncover the ways in how you can improve that person's skills and performance. I believe in giving chances to help people realize their true capabilities. If you extend the right opportunities to help them grow, both parties will benefit from it. This works especially when you can see the team member's dedication to step up and make necessary efforts.

Thanks to Michael Shen, Skill Success!

#16- Refer to their attitude

Photo Credit: Sylvia RJ Scott

Think it depends on the position that person has with your organization and why you don’t feel they are a right fit for the team. After referring to their attitude I ask them if there is something that bothers them with how the business is being run or choices being made. If the answer is totally out of context I will tell the person the reasoning behind it. If the person continues with a negative and unreasonable attitude I suggest they might be happier on another team or if need be perhaps another organization. It happened to me with an organization with two owners. They hired several recent college graduates. I was fired after being asked what was going on with my attitude. One of the with was a friend and it ruined our friendship for years. I would never handle it that way.

Thanks to Sylvia RJ Scott, Girl’s C.E.O. Connection™!

#17- Ask about their concerns and frustrations

Photo Credit: David Aylor

Before you determine if a team member is truly a bad fit, have a sit-down conversation with them and ask about their concerns and frustrations. Sometimes, these team members are overly negative by nature or don’t fit the team well, but often, they have valid concerns. A sit-down will determine whether their concerns over workplace barriers require a change from within the organization, rather than removing the team member altogether. Often, we set up our businesses in a way that functions within our own working styles, but someone with a different working style can help us create a more accessible workspace for employees of all skillsets. Keep a positive tone to the conversation, and communicate that the employee’s feedback is important to you.

Thanks to David Aylor, David Aylor Law Offices!

#18- Maintain an impression of professionalism

Photo Credit: Richard Mews

You are not obligated to be friends with someone you hate or vice versa in order to make things right. You just need to be courteous and do your duties. Never react to petty or inappropriate behavior—remember that you are at the office. We are continuously confronted with difficulty in our personal and professional lives, the majority of which we have little control over. However, the four things over which we have complete control are how we respond, adapt, breathe, and act.

Thanks to Richard Mews, Sell With Richard!

#19- Discovering their talents

Greg Hood
Photo Credit: Greg Hood

The individual who appears not to be a good fit with the team may actually be beneficial to the team once their truly unique gifts are identified and developed. We all have gifts that are unique and powerful once discovered and unleashed. A good approach in discovering the talents of individuals on your team is through forming a genuine interest and relationship with your teammate. Through this relationship and the forming of mutual respect, you will learn your teammate's gifts and how to properly put them in the right situations so your company can benefit. The individual and their abilities can then be honed and enhanced through leadership development courses and mentoring.

Thanks to Greg Hood, Heartwork Leadership Group!

#20- Three ways

Photo Credit: Jonathan Broder

When I say that someone isn’t right for the team, it means a team member may be underperforming and not doing their part properly. When this happens, what I do is to have a talk with the individual and pinpoint problem areas. We figure out why they’re not performing how they should be. I try to do everything I can to help the individual become the right fit for the team. Training, team buildings, and coaching sessions are some of the ways to address this. However, if I see that despite all efforts on both sides, they’re still not a right fit, I’d recommend that they resign from the position since it’s not working out.

Thanks to Jonathan Broder, Digital Vaults!

#21- Hold an infor­mal meeting

Photo Credit: Amit Raj

Organize an infor­mal, pri­vate meet­ing with your employ­ee to get to the bottom of why the person isn't a good fit for your team. Regular one-on-one meetings have been proved to increase employee engagement, so making the time to connect and communicate with your employee will be appreciated. This envi­ron­ment is far more conducive to open, honest debate. You don't want your employee to feel confronted; if they do, they'll either become defensive or shut down. Prepare for the meeting by making a list of the areas where the employee is under­per­form­ing prior to the meeting. Make sure to be specific and gather examples. Your case will be weakened if you are too generous. Remember that the goal of this meet­ing is to establish rapport, to actively listen, and to figure out how you can turn this situation around together.

Thanks to Amit Raj, The Links Guy!

#22- Go through a simple process

Photo Credit: Matthew Roberts

There are many reasons why someone may be unfit for the team. Most of the time, it is just a behavioral issue that a leader can deal with. Firstly, you should find out the root of the misconduct. You should ask yourself first the question, ‘what made the person behave that way.’ In most cases, one usually has different views and perspectives. Take a chance to communicate and ask the person about the issue. They may have disliked
something, they may have realized something is wrong that neither you nor the others knew, or they are dealing with the stress because of personal issues. Taking a glimpse of their viewpoints could change your opinion about them. You do not have to agree on everything. Take your time to understand and resolve the reason for their misconduct.

Thanks to Matthew Roberts, My Choice!

#23- Monitor progress

Photo Credit: Jeroen van Gils

In my opinion, you should allow your employee the time they need to change their ways. During this time, keep track of their improvement and note any problems or relapses. Check-in as often as necessary to have a clearer idea of how they're doing with the agreed-upon strategy and intervene if they stray. Schedule a comprehensive in-person evaluation once the timetable from your plan has passed to discuss how the situation has developed.

Thanks to Jeroen van Gils,!

#24- Collaborate to find a solution

I believe that when you discuss a difficult employee's behavior with them, the ideal outcome is for the two of you to work together to come up with a solution that you both agree on. Discuss the undesirable behaviour, what constitutes good behavior, and what the employee requires of you to improve. Agree on a solution to the problem.

Thanks to Bradley Bonnen, iFlooded Restoration!

What's the best way to deal with a person that's notright for the team?Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
We're 20,000+ CBNation Members Strong & GROWINGJOIN FOR FREE
+ +