Handling Poor Performance

As a people manager, you may come across low performers in your team. The question arises, how do you deal with it?
If everyone performed great all the time, you may not need a manager, but that’s not reality.
A low performer might be someone who:

– Has been in your team for a while, performing at or above expectations previously, but is no longer meeting standards
– Is new to your team

Before we try to figure out how to improve such an employees performance, let’s make sure we understand the role
of a manager. A manager is not a ‘rescuer’, as I mentioned in my previous blog here https://syedali.net/management/.
A manager should be a coach, a catalyst. So instead of solving “the problem”, a manager should guide the employee
towards a solution.

Find out if the issue is a one-time thing, or a repeating pattern.
Next, check if the issue is minor issue, or something that is causing a significant problem.
The reason this is important is that if your employee is not doing something exactly the way you want it, but it’s not effecting
productivity or morale, then perhaps it is not worth correcting. You have to allow for creative freedom.

Get some background information on the employee if he/she is new to your team:

– Contributions to successful projects
– Strengths
– Areas of improvement
– Aptitude

Next, ask the employee about:

– What they like doing
– How they view their current performance
– Impact of their work on others
– Anything they can do improve their performance?

Be honest with the employee about how you perceive their performance.
However, make sure you state facts first, followed by feeling, not feeling first.
So state specific example when the employee could have done better, and then state how that made you or others feel.

In general you want to understand if the problem is due to lack of ability or lack of motivation.
A good conversation will uncover the source of the problem.

If the issue is motivation, think about the interpersonal support you are providing.
If the issue is training, then offer training to the employee.

Your goal should be to align their interest with your and the companies interest. You should also try to raise their expectations
about their own performance.

Once a feedback session is complete, follow up after a few days or weeks to ensure that things are moving in the right direction.

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