How to Deal with Performance Issues and Not Lose Your Mind
Silence when people don’t perform lets everyone know performance doesn’t matter.
7 causes of poor performance:
#1. Management makes it nearly impossible to say no. When employees can’t say no to your face, they say it to your back.
#2. People-pleasing employees smile and say yes, when they should discuss their schedule, deliverables, and priorities with management.
#3. Conflict averse teammates nod their heads but express disapproval with lack of follow through.
#4. Internal systems discourage performance. An employee takes on new tasks and ends up dropping some balls. What happens? They’re punished rather than supported. They learn to pull back.
#5. Lack of honor, reward, or praise for desired behaviors.
#6. Lack of ability or desire.
#7. Uncertainty regarding priorities. Uncertainty makes nervous squirrels of all of us. First one way. Then the other. Finally, run over.
When performance disappoints:
#1. Follow up quickly on second occurrences. Don’t have the same conversation twice and expect different results.
#2. Explore desire and ability. Do they want to perform in this area? Are they able?
Seek the highest good, not reluctant compliance.
#3. Design and establish short-term interventions with teammates. Possible interventions:
- Explore what worked in the past.
- Discuss specific behaviors that get the job done. Generalities block successful interventions.
- Establish a deadline. (Or ask them to.) “In order to keep things running smoothly, I need this by … . Is that doable for you?”
- Schedule an update email after the task is completed. “It will help me if you send an update email after this job is done.”
- Establish your accountability. “If I don’t hear from you, I’ll stop in at 3:00 p.m. to see how things are going.”
Explore behaviors that enable forward movement.
Exemplify personal accountability. Follow through. Delay says it’s not important.
Follow-up with compassion and resolve in ways that:
- Value people.
- Challenge performance.
- Respect organizational goals.
How might managers deal with performance issues as partners?
What short-term interventions to deal with performance issues might you suggest?