8: Manage Poor Performance Effectively

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A drop in output, a lack of productivity or the inability to meet agreed targets or objectives can occur in any part of a business. As a leader it is important not to fall into the common traps of blaming the individual or team or imposing an increased target, before you have taken the time to try to understand the root cause for the lack of achievement.

If you have a relevant set of reporting measures in your business you might be able to identify the problem before it becomes a crisis and find the opportunity to discuss the situation with those involved with the objective of understanding why performance is suffering.

You will have invested in your personnel and recruited them as much for their behaviour and attitude as for their skill set so, if you accept that no-one sets out to fail, the issue might lie within the business as much as with the individual. Your goal is to ensure that an increase in performance is achieved, maintained and that all relevant learning is absorbed so that the issue is not repeated.

Areas for discussion could be:

  • Poor internal process
  • Issues outside of work – Family / health
  • Internal politics / turf war
  • Lack of personal motivation / belief in the Vision of the company

Also consider:

  • Background: Has the lack of performance been a trend over time or appeared suddenly
  • Behaviour: Has the individual been showing moodiness or ‘spiky’ behaviour
  • Competence: What is the level of technical and general experience
  • Judgement: What evidence do you have of effective decision making under pressure
  • Energy: Is the individual bright or burned out
  • Focus: Clear priorities or a grasshopper
  • Trust: Is there a history showing that commitments will be honoured?
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