Coach's Casebook

Improving Poor Performance

Improving Poor Performance

Poor performance is something that we see frequently in business.

No matter the causes, you are not paying people for performing badly.

Poor performers can also influence the rest of the team with bitter comments or complaints.  It is better to deal with this situation rather than let it pervade.

1. Act early – There is no point in hoping that the situation will change on its own.  As a manager or leader it is your responsibility to act.  Have the moral courage to intervene rather than let a problem persist.

2. Be direct and clear – “Your current level of performance is not to the level required.  Your last delivery was poor and had to be redone costing us £2500. What I expect is…”

3. Confirm that they now know what a good job looks like – As them questions, explore their understanding.  Ensure that both you and they are clear about the performance level and outcome that is expected of them.

4. Work with the person to craft a plan – He or she will be feeling quite low after your initial address.  You will now need to have an action plan so that the person can demonstrate how they are going to improve and have measures that confirm improvement.  It should be either their action plan or one you craft together.  They must, however, be involved in the development of that plan because without involvement there is no commitment.

5. Ensure that they have the skills – Sometimes poor performance is due to training or skill shortfalls.  If you set someone a task, you must ensure that they have the skills and resources to deliver on that task.  If not, you are setting that person up to fail!

6. Support them through the improvement process – monitor, coach, mentor and praise the increased performance.  A child learns to walk by trying to walk and being praised after even the most trivial attempt.  The parent doesn’t say “well you tried and its just not your strength so carry on crawling for the rest of your life. It is constant and supportive feedback at any positive attempt.  Apply this approach to your problem team member and reward improvements with positive feedback.

Be responsible for the development of their performance and give them the skills and resources to thrive.

Dare to Aspire

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