How do Great Team Leaders Manage Poor Performers?

Define clear and precise expectations
It may seem obvious, but surprisingly, what is expected is very often left unsaid, therefore the employee may have no idea of whether what they deliver does or doesn’t meet the manager’s expectations. Defining expectations should be coupled with stating the consequences of not meeting the expected results.

Set solid deadlines
- for completion of the precisely presented expectations, as described above.
Try to get to the root cause of the under-performance
Sometimes it’s simply that a job is not doable, no matter who you’ll put onto it, other times the reason for under-performing may be a deep issue in the employee’s private life, which will later pass and the quality of their work will return to the normal height.

Motivate
Even the most dedicated employees need to see what will be the direct benefit of their hard work and ot have a personal goal to achieve within the company.

Be prepared to dismiss some people
No matter how many different factors you’ll take into account, and how well will you motivate your team, some people will just not improve. Shame they got through the recruitment process in the first place, but now that you know their value, just let go and save your company the time.

Give feedback
Unless people are aware of the quality of their work, they will not be able to make a change. So, if they’re doing poorly — do let them know, and if they’re doing great — they need to know just the same.
Act as soon as you notice the lower quality of performance
The longer you leave it, the less likely it will be resolved.

Investigate early on
To find whether it’s the lack of motivation or lack of ability that causes the problem. Also, do make it clear, that whenever the employee comes across a difficulty, they are welcome to come and ask you for guidance.

Consider the employee’s needs
It may be, that them not being met causes the drop in the quality of work. Sometimes it may be a while before they notice the problem themselves.

Track the progress
… of the problematic team members to verify your decision to keep them on.
Offer rewards for best workers
However risky, this may be one way to encourage a high quality working morale. Should you decide on this approach, do remember to underline that the way to get a reward is by doing things best, not quickest and with use of unethical ways.

Perfect the hiring process
… to eliminate the unsuitable people at the very beginning, as this may be a saving of a lot of time and resources.

First published on the Kanban Tool Blog.

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