The Benevolent Instructor

This is a common story. Maybe it’s happened to you. You take in a new student. You let him train for free because of his situation. You even counsel him while he cries on your shoulder about his life.

He trains hard and advances through the ranks and earns his black belt. With his skill and dedication, you decide he would be a great addition to your staff, so you hire him.

Things are going great, and he has become an asset to your school. You’re proud that you’ve been able to save this young man and help him move from a negative to a positive path in life.

In time, however, the luster begins to fade. He shows up late or calls in with questionable excuses. He is also not treating the students and their families they way you want them treated.

At this point, you are faced with a tough decision. You know his background, and you fear that your school is all that he has.

If you let him go, you think he’ll spiral out of control, so you keep him on and hope he improves. Still, you find yourself cleaning up after his mess more and more each week.

All you ever did for this kid was help him. You taught him all that you know and gave him a great opportunity. How did this happen?

It happens all of the time when your assets become liabilities. In this case, we’re talking human assets. You may be thinking that the kid is the asset that became a liability, and you’re right.

But, as the old saying goes, when you point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at you. You’ve become a liability too.

When you make the decision to keep staff because the consequences of firing them would disrupt their life, you have become as big a liability as the staff member.

The damage created by the staff member is only happening because you’re allowing it.

You are giving permission for this person to damage your business, stress you out, and reduce the reward to you and your family for your risk and hard work in opening a business.

One way to deal with this is to create an agreement with each staff member. While it may differ from school to school, here is an example of a staff agreement.

Standards of Performance Agreement