I am sure that all of us understand the definition of under performance of an individual, its impact on team and its morale. I am not suggesting that you tolerate it. You should never accept it within your team. Yes it needs to be addressed at an early stage; else it will develop into a habit. It is true that if we start living with it will set a wrong model. It will unnecessarily put pressure on the rest o the team. You are also aware that the individual concerned naturally assumes that the behavior is acceptable. Not only that, pretty soon it will spread within the team and you hate it to the point that you shun it. Everything that we feel so far is all true.
We all know that a person who consistently fails to deliver on performance is tagged an under performer. But first of all let’s understand the reasons of such behavior, that we despise so much. It is necessary that we understand the said behavior in detail, before we actually chalk out an action plan for it. The reasons can be broadly understood, as the person in question, is either not being able to perform or is not willing to perform. Once you classify the problem as a skill or a will issue, you will have clarity as to how to proceed. Following are certain indications in classifying the behavior, as either related to skill or will:
· Individual will have unacceptable standard of work against the set parameters of performance.
· Low productivity level against the team’s average performance in spite of putting efforts.
· Poor outputs in quality parameters owing to poor knowledge on the subject.
· Individual may have the ability to perform well but chooses to under perform.
· Clear indicators come in the form of being habitual lateness and frequent absenteeism.
· Consistent resistance, attitude towards work and colleagues.
We are all aware of how to resolve the situation with the “skill issue” guys. We usually provide more training or buddy the person in question with a strong skilled person and things like that. These guys can be quickly corrected with a little support and attention from you. However, challenging situations are the “will issue” guys. I recommend that you have a one to one discussion with them to understand the root cause of the situation. Open communication with them during these discussions could be helpful. Following are few guidelines that are useful in such discussions:
· You acknowledge the fact that you know their performance capabilities, should they actually decide to perform.
· You are aware that they are restricting performance willingly; in the process harming their own career.
· You are open and willing to discuss the actual reasons (ascertain if there are any outside factors restricting performance).
· Instilling confidence in them that should they decide to work on their will issues, you are more than happy to work with them through their situation.
The root cause identification exercise can be effectively achieved by referring to my earlier post: Using ‘How’s and ‘Why’s a lot in People/Teammanagement – Identify the root cause.
As a great leader, you are confident and will explore all possibilities to determine the hidden reasons, as to why a person is willingly under performing. Most importantly create a turn around and convert that individual to be a part of your winning team.