How to Best Manage Underperformance

Now and then, people can disappoint. Remember, to err is human. This means that although you may have a stellar staff and a team of employees who pride themselves in their good, hard work ethic – they may actually be underperforming.

Underperformance is not always a result of laziness, incompetence or individual shortcomings. In fact, that’s rarely the case. So what actually causes underperformance?

Team Management

A team is a group of units working together under a unified governance. While these individuals- within the group – performs their individual tasks, they may be unaware that the overall system is not operating properly. Team inefficiency may lead to or result in individual underperformance. Sometimes the key is finding the weakest link.

Playing the blame game with staff will accomplish nothing; in fact, it may alienate people and break down relationships. That’s not the mark of good leadership.

So, here are a few tips to abate and manage underperformance.

#1 – Rethink your Goals

First, look at your goals.  Is employee performance weak or are your goals unrealistic? If your goals are unrealistic change them. Prioritize the most important elements and push back the less important tasks. Set new benchmarks and new numbers.

Are your processes optimized or inefficient? Look at the employees chosen, as well as who they are grouped with;  who is assigned to what? Should responsibilities be re-delegated? How can re-assigning employees lead to reaching your goals? Read more and discover how to improve employee performance.

#2 – Track Performances with Reviews and Discussion

You may find that assignments have been given to people who don’t actually have the skills to perform the action, resulting in their inability to complete a task as well as someone who has a knack for it. Track their performance.

Consider reevaluating the tasks assigned to each task member. Recognize employee strengths and match it with corresponding tasks. Ask employees about their concerns and the challenges they are facing with their current responsibilities. Listen to feedback and consider a position that will better match their individual competency and proficiency levels.

Often, employees aren’t even aware of their shortcomings and may hide their uncertainty, doubt or discomfort .You need to have open, nonthreatening discussions with these employees about their concerns. This cannot be a one way discussion though, they need to be able to voice their opinion openly. Sometimes the problem may be a lack of motivation or it may be that they want a greater challenge.

#3 – Offer Training

When employees express a lack of confidence, uncertainty or discomfort with a given responsibility, you should offer them a training option. Nowadays there are a plethora of positive, easy training options available that are more fun and exciting than traditional methods.

You can also offer this training as a ‘reward’ that they actually earned. Examples include social games, offsite gathering and group activities that are followed by discussions. Remember to avoid being condescending and encourage constructive criticism.

#4 – Put the Power in Their Hands

You’ve now pointed out employee underperformance in a noncritical way and you’ve given them training options for improving their performance. Hopefully they have now recognized their weaknesses and are motivated to improve.

This is the time to put the power in their hands. Show your employees that the ability to improve is entirely within their power, and up to them. Show them that they have the ability to change, on their own, without any micromanagement. Your trust in them will improve their morale, as well as their own sense of self-worth, and probably light a fire under them to improve their performance in the future.

So there you have it; underperformance is a big issue in the business world and it  may be due to a variety of factors. These 4 tips will guide you on how to best manage underperformance and increase productivity.

Jason Silberman
Jason is the former Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog
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