In every business in every part of the world there is one situation that baffles even the most gifted professionals: poor performance. Most supervisors view poor performance as an issue of the employee; but I believe that poor performance is an all inclusive situation. Everyone in Executive Leadership should bear some responsibility in creating and maintaining poor employee performance, so how do you remedy the situation?
Lead by Example
The first step to combating poor performance is to acknowledge your shortcomings as a leadership example. Do you lead by example? This seems like a straightforward question, but it is the most confusing part of leadership. Make sure that you are the best example for your employee. Create a positive professional model; start your day on time and create a clear plan on what you expect to accomplish during the day. Show your employees your dedication to your tasks and motivate them through you.
Make it easy for your employees to reach you. Everyone in the organization is busy, but in order to create an effective relationship with your employees they need to be able to reach you. Create a concrete meeting schedule that will allow you to hear your employee’s concerns or to celebrate their achievements. Create a 24 hour response rule, whatever the situation agree to contact your staff within 24 hours of their attempt to reach you. In order to build morale and improve performance, you first have to build your staff’s view of their importance.
Be Clear in Your Communication
When your staff comes to you with questions or feedback, do you directly address the conversation or do you stick to PC company responses? Be as realistic as possible with your staff and help them reach their targets. Have clear expectations of your staff and be sure that your staff understands the expectations and how you expect the goals to be completed. Set clear job responsibilities for your staff and if at all possible spend a day in your staff’s shoes to ensure that your expectations are reasonable.
Meet with your staff more than once a year and talk about the staff’s view of their responsibilities and the goals. Make an effort to really listen and absorb the information being given to you. Identify the areas you want to discuss prior to the meeting and let your staff know what you really want to discuss. Set an agenda for the meetings to give your staff the opportunity to provide feedback on the effectiveness of company strategies.
Identify an Action Plan
This step seems to go without saying, but most employees are told to improve without any type of roadmap. If you staff is underperforming create specific actions to address the situation. Be sure to identify any resources available, additional training or one on one coaching. Create a timeline to meet and discuss progress and challenges. The most important part of an action plan is to identify and explain the consequences of failing to improve. Be very open with the staff about the company’s needs and what you are willing to do to help them attain those goals.
Your staff is your biggest investment as a company and it’s more cost effective to reorganize than fire. Performance is a direct reflection on training and if you view your staff as a constant work in progress, you are more likely to build the kind of staff that brings loyalty and quality to your business.
Lakshmi Muralikrishnan says
Wonderful article!! A day-to-day problem where we handle inadequacies in work-place.
Just to add to the list, I have always found that when I make my staff repeat my instructions to confirm my communication, it works !!
More so, When I make them write down the instructions – it works!!
And of course, a positive feedback on good job done and a rational one on mess without being highly emotional about it takes me a long way.
Thanks for the well-written article
Ashley Binns says
Hi! My name is Ashley Binns. Me and my husband own two businesses, one online, and the other is a childcare center. We deal with poor performance often. One other tip that we try to do regularly, is to document employees behavior weather good or bad. Using this method, we have sometimes seen a pattern and was able to understand why their performance was poor. Always communicate with the employee using your notes from your documentation to see what is going on. Understanding WHY helps you to understand HOW you can help the employee in their performance! Great Article and Great tips! I enjoyed!
Leona Charles says
Thanks for the comment! I think you are absolutely right, what do you feel is more important praising positive performance or addressing negative performance?
Ashley Binns says
Wow! It’s so funny that you say that. We just had a training the other day on this topic. The topic on the training was about Creating good habits as a manager. And one habit you have to learn to create was to not forget about the people under you. It’s so easy for us to criticize employee’s performance because that is what we are trained to do. Managers and Boss’s are the problem fixers. But one thing that employees appreciate is facts and genuineness. Treating them like you would want to be treated is the best way. So to answer your question. I think that either one of them can not be ignored. Praising an employee ensures that they are doing the right thing, and addressing negative performance tells them what they need to change. So I think there has to be a balance. Too much or too little can be harmful.
Leona Charles says
That’s great! I think you have a very balanced view on performance, I wish everyone used good judgement when judging performance!