by Tony Vidler
Inevitably there will be a time when one or some of your team are under-performing. Not under-performing to the point where the decision to terminate them is actually quite easy, but under-performing to the point where it is just aggravating because you just feel that they should be doing better.
Figuring out what to do begins with two simple questions:
If we have people who we hired who were pretty sure would be a good fit and they have shown previously the capability we wanted, but they are not showing it now, then we have to figure out if that is a permanent change or a temporary state of affairs.
If you are running a growing business with staff it is inevitable that from time to time some will under perform. It is NOT inevitable that they should be dismissed however….staff are people. They have stuff going on in their lives that we don’t always know about. They have ups and downs. Good people have bad times and bad days.
Temporary problems shouldn’t necessarily be given a permanent solution when it comes to managing people.
How to work out whether you have a good person having a bad time, or a bad person having a good time at your expense, then comes down to these two further questions:
1. Does this person reflect our values?
2. Does this person follow our processes?
If it is someone with good values, who is following good processes, then you have a good person having a bad time. Help them up and invest in them….you will be rewarded for it.
If it is someone with the wrong values, then it doesn’t matter what you do with them. They shouldn’t be there. Get rid of them.
If it is someone with good values, but who is not following good processes, manage them. Train them. Invest in them. You are most likely to be rewarded for it.
Underperformance happens to all of us….we all have times when we are not as good as we could be, or should be. It doesn’t automatically follow that it should be fatal for the staff member though. If we are honest we’d have to say that often underperformance is a management fault….sometimes our people haven’t been trained well enough. Sometimes our expectations or processes are not clear enough. Sometimes we did just choose the wrong people….but that is not the case all that often.
If you have good people, with good values, and you have good systems and processes, then underperformance is just a temporary issue that happens sometimes. Help those people get back on their feet – you will have a better business for it.