When you don’t quickly deal with a team member’s poor performance it doesn’t just impact that one team member. It has damaging repercussions that you can’t isolate or quarantine.
It’s going to cost you on many fronts, such as…
- The poor-performer’s peers will be disgruntled when they notice what your poor performer is getting away with
- Teamwork will suffer
- Retaining your first-rate team members will be more difficult
- You can expect productivity and profits to be negatively impacted
- Your capacity to confront these sorts of difficult issues will continue to be stymied, and
- Your reputation as a fair and plausible leader will be jeopardised.
You can transform costly poor performance!
Importantly, it’s almost certainly your own thought patterns that are stopping you from promptly dealing with your poor performer.
Let’s look at four pivotal thought patterns and how you can turn your team’s health and productivity around…
1) Are You Putting Off Addressing The Problem Because You Don’t Feel Comfortable Addressing It?
If you can sit back and honestly say:
“Yes, the twenty minutes or so that I would have to invest in giving this poor performing team member candid feedback, and working out a development plan, wouldn’t achieve the business results that I could achieve by spending my time on another issue”
…then OK don’t speak with your team member—just yet .
Let’s be honest, this isn’t often the case.
It’s much more likely that you’re putting off addressing something that you don’t feel comfortable addressing.
So then, what would need to happen for you to get more uncomfortable-about-not-addressing the issue than addressing it?
Consider the costs to you, to your poor performer, to your other team members, and to the business, then ask yourself that question.
2) Have You Been Thinking/Hoping The Problem Will Resolve Itself?
Of course, it hardly ever does.
It’s much more common for the situation to get worse, often times because the team member simply doesn’t realise the seriousness of their practices or behaviours.
Way too often leaders are neglecting for way too long the development of a poor performing team member. So come on, step up and nip the poor performance in the bud.
3) Have You Been Justifying Your No-Action Because Of A Tight Budget?
We know that economic conditions fluctuate which impacts what you can easily invest in development. But remember that your team member’s performance problem will be costing you plenty.
And when things are tough and budgets are tight, that’s when you can least afford the repercussions of not immediately sorting out what’s going on. You need all the productivity and discretionary effect you can get, right?
Won’t the costs of not addressing your team member’s performance be a lot higher than the cost of dealing with it?
4) Do You Fear That You Might Make Things Worse By Talking About It?
This belief is certainly not one that you, or your organisation, can afford.
If your competence or confidence in giving feedback needs enhancing, get help. It’s incumbent on you to be highly skilled in effectively dealing with poor performance.
Your Leadership Call To Action
One of the hallmarks of a great leader is their honesty—not just with others, with themselves too.
When you’re honest with yourself and find evidence of any of the four practices I’ve just described, will you ask yourself…
“To enable my team member to lift his or her game, do I need to lift my game?”
- Are you wishing or hoping for things to be different in your team, rather than tackling the performance problem head on?
- Have you thought through what are the real costs of living with the problem, verses the cost of addressing it?
- Is your own struggle to give candid feedback actually the crux of the problem?
Let me know if coaching support would help you to feel easy and comfortable about giving feedback. It truly is false economy to ignore poor performance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.