How to Handle a Non Performer

Creating Disney Magic Ep 462 How to Handle a non performer

“Your job should be to want to help them find out what the problem is. If they are unhappy, try to figure out why so we can all work on it and you can work on it.” – Lee Cockerell

During my days at Hilton, I found myself tangled in a web of union operations and non-performing employees. It was deeply frustrating at times. I found myself constantly questioning how to handle these situations. Then I realized, the solution was simpler than I initially thought – consistency.

I began documenting every single instance of underperformance, putting it into writing, and having it signed as proof. With enough documentation, I was able to convince the union to back off. This wasn’t because I wanted to win over them, but because I genuinely wanted these employees to succeed.

Fast-forward to my second stint at Disney, I encountered a similar situation. However, this time, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of focusing solely on their non-performance, I dove deeper into the root causes. I initiated sincere, heart-to-heart discussions with the employees. I discovered that some of them were facing personal problems, while others just weren’t happy with their jobs.

This approach not only helped improve their performance but also established a stronger bond between us. It made me realize that sometimes, all it takes is a little understanding and compassion to transform a non-performing employee into a valuable team player.

If you’re dealing with a non-performing worker:

  • Document their performance issues and follow your company’s policy for addressing the problem. Consult with HR and the company lawyer if necessary.
  • Consider having a sincere heart-to-heart discussion with the non-performing employee to understand the root cause of their performance issues and offer support or suggest alternative roles within the organization.
  • If the performance issues persist and the employee is not receptive to improvement, be prepared to either continue supporting them or terminate their employment.

Remember that as a leader, it is your responsibility to address performance issues and help employees succeed. Approach the situation with sincerity and a desire to find a solution.

If you feel like you need a break in order to clear your mind and be better prepared for the hard conversations then I recommend a vacation. Contact Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-2694 or visit and click on the banner to book your next trip.


The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Episode Highlights

00:03:34 – Listener Question: Dealing with Non-Performing Workers and Union Involvement

00:07:22 – Handling Non-Performers in General

00:08:09 – Addressing Personal Issues

00:11:02 – The Complexity of the Mind

00:14:02 – Building Confidence and Performance

00:14:27 – Taking Responsibility for Employee Performance

00:14:41 – Communicating Expectations


The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader