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Even when both the business owner and her new team member have the best intentions, sometimes a match just isn’t meant to be. A poor business owner-team member pairing can impact a business in many ways, from loss of morale, to frustration, to wasted time and money. So what should a female entrepreneur do when she realizes she’s made a bad hire?  Is there a right way to handle it?


A new study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on women entrepreneurs, recently revealed there are five distinct types of women in business. Each of these five types has a unique approach to running a businessâ€"and as a consequence, each of them has a unique combination of characteristics and factors. This article profiles three of the Jane “types” and the different ways they may handle hiring the wrong person on a team and all that comes with it.


Go Jane Go is passionate about her work, and has no problem marketing and selling herself, so she has plenty of clientsâ€"but she’s struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she’s eager to make an impact on the world and may really struggle to say “no”.  Because she wants to support so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged or sometimes feel guilty about the list of goals not yet achieved. 


Because Go Jane Go takes her work very personally, she may let herself obsess over her bad hire. Here are some of her possible reactions to hiring the wrong person, and some things she can think about to make the best of the situation:


  • Guilt. Go Jane Go is a people person, and wants her team to be happy. If she hires the wrong person, she may feel guilty about letting him go and wonder what she, herself, has done to contribute to the difficulties.   

  • Tips for dealing with Guilt: In this case, Go Jane Go needs to separate the personal from the professional.  She has a responsibility to the long-term health of her business â€" and herself!  Having a team member who just doesn’t fit often brings morale down, so removing that team member often will get everyone else back on track.  And in the long run, the terminated team member may even feel grateful for valuable lessons learned.

  • Harder Work. Because Go Jane Go tends to avoid confrontation, she may start working harder to make up for whatever her new team member lacks, even taking back some or all of the work that she delegated to him. 

  • Tips for avoiding Harder Work:  Conduct a thorough analysis of whether the new team member will be able to do the job.  If the problems are attitude, mindset, or competency, the situation will not improve with time.  Have a thorough, objective performance review with the team member.  Although this may feel confrontational, by keeping the conversation focused on objective job performance criteria, Go Jane Go will help her bad hire see what is lacking and put him on notice that performance must improve.  Following this conversation, Go Jane Go may be surprised to find herself feeling lighter â€" and with more time on her hands. 


Merry Jane. This entrepreneur is usually building a part-time or “flexible time” business that gives her a creative outlet (whether she’s an ad agency consultant or she makes beautiful artwork) that she can manage within specific constraints around her schedule.  She may have a day-job, or need to be fully present for family or other pursuits. She realizes she could make more money by working longer hours, but she’s happy overall with the tradeoff she has made because her business gives her tremendous freedom to work how and when she wants, around her other commitments.


Although Merry Jane values her relationships, both with her clients and with her team members, she also values the fun she’s having with her business and the time she spends away from it, fulfilling other responsibilities. Therefore, if hiring the wrong person becomes a distraction for Merry Jane, she won’t have a problem letting him go. Here are some of Merry Jane’s possible reactions to hiring the wrong person:


  • Lack of Awareness. Because Merry Jane has so many other priorities in her life, she will hire team members who can do what they need to do without much guidance. She probably won’t be hovering while they’re working, so she may not notice she’s hired the wrong person until the situation has snowballed.

  • Tips for dealing with Lack of Awareness. When Merry Jane hires someone, she should provide very clear performance expectations and check in periodically to see how the new team member is doing. Ask him to provide weekly status updates on progress that can be quickly and easily read and check regularly to ensure things are on track.  If they are not, course corrections, including replacing the team member, are easily done early in the process.

  • A Clean Break. Merry Jane loves her business because she’s set it up for maximum efficiency, using systems to get the work done well.  If a new hire is not performing well, it’s important for Merry Jane’s precious time that she make a quick, clean break.

  • Tips for making a Clean Break:  Upon receiving weekly status reports, determine whether course-correction is needed.  If so, meet with the team member to explain the gaps and notify him of the corrections that need to be made and in what timeframe.  Reaffirm the objectives of the position and schedule time to meet again for another review.  Timing will be dependent on the nature of the work, but convene in the shortest possible time period during which performance can be expected to have improved (typically 1 week to 1 month).  If improvements are insufficient, part ways by clearly articulating the importance of the missed objectives and the areas where expectations were not met. 


Accidental Jane is a successful, confident business owner who never actually set out to start a business.  Instead, she may have decided to start a business due to frustration with her job or a layoff and decided to use her business and personal contacts to strike out on her own. Or, she may have started making something that served her own unmet needs and found other customers with the same need, giving birth to a business.  Although Accidental Jane may sometimes struggle with prioritizing what she needs to do next in  her business, she enjoys what she does and is making good money.  About 18% of all women business owners fit the Accidental Jane profile.


Tired of corporate politics, Accidental Jane relishes the opportunity to be on her own, and therefore, is slow to hire outside help.  When she does so, she may find that a lack of documented systems may trip up her ability to bring someone on board effectively and quickly.  Although she knows exactly how she likes the work done, the process steps may not be as apparent to someone new.  Here are some of Accidental Jane’s possible reactions:


  • Frustration.  Accidental Jane may have hired a person she considered ideal but may feel frustrated with the results because the team member is not executing the work the way Accidental Jane does. 

  • Tips for Dealing with Frustration:  Make sure it’s the person, not the process.  Have a candid conversation with the team member, focusing the discussion specifically on whether he feels clear about the tasks at hand.  Have him describe his perceptions of the assignment.  This will often give Accidental Jane an excellent opportunity to uncover miscommunications and misunderstandings regarding the work. 

  • Managing effectively.  Sometimes team members need more guidance to improve their performance.

  • Tips for Managing Effectively: Schedule regular check-ins with your team members.  If you have more than one, consider a group call where you can meet with the entire team at once.  Further, have team members document their own systems.  Whenever performance challenges occur, review the documented process first to uncover any flaws. If the process is correct, Accidental Jane can then easily and professionally release a team member who is not following the agreed-upon process.   


Once a business owner has gone through the entire hiring process, from advertising to interviewing to hiring to training, it can be disappointing if it’s just not a good match. Whether the chemistry isn’t there, the team member misrepresented his skills or the job turns out to be different than he expected and it just isn’t working out, sometimes a business owner needs to be the one to end the relationship before it causes too much damage to a business. Although Go Jane Go, Merry Jane and Accidental Jane may handle the end differently, every business owner can learn from their reactions so the end is as painless as possible.


Interested in learning more about the five Jane types and which Jane you are? Check out


This Business article was written by Michele DeKinder-Smith on 12/2/2009

Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at