Today, the performance of team members is a major concern for every leader. This is further complicated by the fact that businesses are now moving fast and competition in intense. Hence, having a team that is not performing at its peak allows your competition to cut deeper into your market due to unfilled deliverables.
While everyone should do their utmost best at work, human nature is that people often perform poorly. So managers are forced to confront underperforming employees.
Since this can be awkward, especially for less skilled leaders, below are tested strategies you may adopt to respectfully address poor performance:
1. Act immediately and quickly: Never delay to deal with underperforming team members, because poor performance can easily become an “epidemic” at the work place if not addressed promptly. Immediately set out to find the root cause. Be a great listener in this first conversation to allow you uncover unknowns.
2. Choose your words carefully: When confronting poor performance, choose your words carefully so you do not come off as blaming because often times we are only aware of half the truths about a situation. Hence, use open-ended questions that allow the person to explain himself or herself deeply.
3. Focus on the issue and never attack the person: Underperformance in a team member usually has multiple causes, so focus on the things that will lead up to the expected outcomes, on the actual issue, and not the employee. Pay particular attention to system failures that allowed the person to fail on duty.
4. Confront under performers one-on-one: Be sensitive to emotions. Since embarrassment is bound to happen as you explore a person’s failures, so keep your conversations to just the two of you. This can open the door for more trust, openness, and vulnerability, making it easier to find the root of the problem.
5. Fix the problem: After finding the cause of the problem, discuss your new expectations in clear and non-intimidating language. In a respectful way, let them make commitments to you on how they will be addressing their shortfalls. This direct and yet non-intimidating way increases trust and builds confidence.
Well these five and other ways will help you deal with poor performance effectively at work.
Reflecting on your experience, how have you addressed poor work in the past?
What will you do differently next time?
Dr. Gerald Amandu, PhD
Leadership Coach and Business Advisor CEO & Founder, Gerald Amandu Success Academy