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4 Smart Strategies to Use When Your Best Employees Underperform

June 7 2017 - As a leader, you have the responsibility to ensure that the people who work under you can carry out their duties to the best of their ability. Their performance should commensurate with their compensation. If they are underperforming, it could be due to one of the following reasons:

  1. They couldn't understand the instructions.
  2. They lack the ability.
  3. They lack the resources.
  4. They lack the motivation.

If you are struggling with underperforming employees, here are a few ways to improve the situation. However, make sure that you don't put the whole blame on the employee. There could be a reason for their poor performance. To improve their performance, you need to work for your workers.

You don't explain things clearly

When we talk to people, we often assume that they have the same knowledge as we do. As a result, we may fail to explain things clearly. This leads to confusion. You can avoid this confusion by paying attention to their body language and facial expressions. A furrowed brow or a blank look, for example, is a sign that the listener is confused or frustrated. In this case, it is your responsibility to ask them if they need any clarification.

Once you have explained things, you have to ensure that they have understood the instructions. Don't ask them if they have understood because they are more likely to say yes. Instead, ask them to explain what they have understood. This allows them to talk openly. You should encourage your employees to ask questions. There are supervisors who roll their eyes when their employees ask questions. Unfortunately, this will prevent them from seeking the clarification they need and lead to poor performance.

Lack of Ability

This could be due to two reasons. Perhaps the employee lacks the knowledge or skill required to perform the job. If that is the case, you could help them by offering them coaching or training. Improper job placement is another reason. For example, someone with a shy personality cannot be a successful salesperson. Likewise, someone who doesn't have an aptitude for numbers cannot be a good accountant. In such cases, transferring that person to another department or position could be a good idea.

Lack of Resources

Resources can mean several different things. It could be equipment, funds, or authority. If your people lack resources, you cannot expect them to work satisfactorily. As a manager or a supervisor, it is your duty to ensure that your staff has access to everything they need to deliver a good performance. To find out whether the lack of resources is the cause of underperformance, compare their performance to the performance of other employees who work in the same department. If those employees are performing well with the available resources, this cannot be the reason for the underperformance of a particular employee.

Poor Attitude

This could be due to several reasons. For example, incorrect job placement can make people indifferent to their job. If they don't enjoy the job, you cannot expect them to deliver high performance. You should resolve that issue before you can correct the attitude problem.

The poor attitude could also be a result of unfair treatment. For example, if you belittle your employees for even small mistakes, they may become disgruntled. The supervisor can restore the morale of the employee by apologising to them. If the improper attitude is a result of the poor work ethics of the employee, you need to inform them that their performance is not satisfactory. It is a good idea to give them the coaching they need to improve their performance. And if that does not help, removing that employee is the last resort.

Some of these conversations may be hard but a true leader has the responsibility to bring out the best in their employees. Your organisation or clients cannot suffer due to the underperformance of an employee. It certainly is not easy to ask someone to quit the organisation, but if everything else fails that is the only solution.

About the author

Anne Grobler is a staunch supporter of social media, a blogger and a writer at OpenAgent - experts in the field of real estate. Anne is also deeply interested in establishing a successful business and often shares her tips with other professional online. Visit Anne on her LinkedIn.


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