Whether it’s a frontline janitor, supervisor, salesperson or administrator, underperformers weigh down an entire cleaning company or department.

It’s easy to fall into a trap of feeling like you can’t part ways with an underperformer because they’ve been with the company for 10-plus years. Chances are, they know all the people, they understand your systems and they’re well-liked. (They might even be family members).

Problem is, the current state of circumstances didn’t happen overnight. An honest look in the mirror would tell you that these employees have been underperforming for years and the situation has only gotten worse. Yet, they’ve been getting by because of past success, they’re friendly …and that makes it difficult to muster up the courage to let them go.

You may say to yourself that things aren’t terrible. The job is getting done and you don’t want to rock the boat. Other people, including yourself, can cover for this individual’s shortcomings. Ultimately, this is a compromise of what you truly want as a leader. In the long term, it will end up affecting service, quality, people and company or department morale.

Perhaps you’re scared to make a change because, deep down, you know you don’t have a Plan B. If fear is at the root of not taking action, I’d recommend turning the question around and asking yourself, “What could happen if I don’t get rid of this person?” Chances are, you’ll continue to make the same mistakes and lose your most precious asset — time.

Simply hoping things will get better with no real plan for lasting change will only breed mediocrity and complacency throughout your workplace.

This problem can be further compounded if that one individual has control over an entire department, like operations, payroll or accounting. It creates a chokehold within the organization because there’s an over-reliance on one individual as opposed to a set of processes that are repeatable and can be learned by others within the organization (or new hires).

If that’s the case, take the time to realign duties, get other people cross-trained and involved and begin developing potential rising stars within your organization. This will create options and the ability to promote from within. More importantly, it will give your employees a path for growth and upward mobility.

In Jon Gordon’s book, “The Energy Bus,” there’s a great quote to keep in mind as you consider your staff: “There are people who increase your energy and there are people who drain your energy.”

One of your jobs as a leader is proper resource allocation. Take the time to establish outcomes, expectations and ensure that everyone understands why. Get the right people on your team. Have systems in place for measurement. Gather the courage to have those difficult personnel conversations. If you do so, you’ll experience the joy of onboarding the right employees to help develop your winning team.

Greg Montesano is owner of The Prevailing Group in Stamford, Connecticut. The advisory firm works exclusively with service providers and contractors to uncover strategies that will save money and time, as well as boost the bottom line. He can be reached at greg@prevailinggroup.com. Learn more at www.prevailinggroup.com.