Dealing with an underperforming employee is a workplace issue that many leaders frequently avoid or ignore, rather than immediately addressing.
Oftentimes, a leader may feel as if they don’t have the time to focus on managing poor performance or they may simply choose not to deal with the conflict or hurt feelings that may arise from a conversation about performance. Not addressing employee problems timely, or at all, only exacerbates them and creates even more challenging situations that will ultimately affect the entire organization.
It’s safer to be hit by a snowball, than an avalanche.
Poor employee performance that is not dealt with is similar to a snowball that grows larger and larger the further it rolls downhill, until it eventually becomes an avalanche, destroying everything in its path. Extreme Leaders know that effectively putting a halt to the snowball effect when employees are not performing well at work requires the mentorship and guidance of a leadership keynote speaker who understands exactly how to motivate an underperforming employee and who will support their efforts to do the same.
7 Effective Ways to Manage Underperforming Employees
Rather than getting buried under an avalanche, Extreme Leaders recognize how critical it is to break up the snowball before it does any damage. They employ every available resource in order to show employees that they believe in their abilities and are invested in helping them reach their full potential.
Take a look at the following 7 effective principles for managing underperforming employees and engage a leadership keynote speaker to guide you through implementation.
Recognize the Root of the Problem
As a leader, it can be incredibly challenging to admit that one of your team members is not performing well at work because this means recognizing that this employee’s poor performance may lower business productivity. However, whether the problem results from a lack of skills or a stressful work environment, acknowledging the issue is the first step toward resolving it.
As they say, knowing is half the battle.
Once you unearth the problem, which is as unique to each individual as their own experiences and motivations, you will be able to determine its root cause. Discovering what is behind poor employee performance is essential to devising a plan to manage and improve it.
After gathering all the evidence and facts, you are ready to address the issue. It is important to remember to approach your employee in a calm, professional manner, which shows your employees that you care about them and that your goal in facing the challenge head-on is to help them achieve success.
Conduct One-on-One Meetings
When determining how to deal with underperforming employees, it is vital for leaders to remember that every individual has the potential to be a high performer and to approach each employee with that goal in mind. The best way to address this situation is by scheduling a private, one-on-one meeting with the underperforming employee. Setting the stage for total confidentiality allows you to gain awareness of their perspective on the situation.
By taking the time to discuss your employee’s aspirations and successes, you can more closely match your expectations to theirs, which enables you to set long-term plans that work toward the eventual achievement of both of your goals.
This one-on-one conversation will also help you, as the leader, identify any areas where you can offer additional support to your employee. It is critical that you invite and accept feedback from the employee in order to see the full picture and understand your role in it.
By understanding how to motivate an underperforming employee and approaching the situation with compassion and an open mind, you are showing your team that you are an empathetic leader who appreciates and cares about them. Through this, you will also allow any hidden potential to come to light and help your employees perform to the best of their ability.
Develop a Performance Improvement Plan Together
Planning is incredibly important when determining how to manage employee performance, not only on the leader’s part, but also for the employee who may need some additional motivation to achieve their goals.
In the scenario where an employee is not meeting the agreed-upon expectations, developing a performance improvement plan together is an important first step. The process of creating a well-defined plan together allows both the leader and the employee to identify specific areas of improvement, set realistic goals and create a timeline for measuring progress.
By working together, you will show your employee that you care about them and you will also gain their buy-in on the plan. This establishes collaboration and lets your employee know that you will provide them with the support and guidance needed to get their performance back on track.
Invest in Your Employees’ Growth with a Leadership Keynote Speaker
Not only do leaders typically want employees to succeed because it makes the workplace more productive and efficient, it also creates a more positive company culture. However, wanting something to be true is not always enough, and some of your employees may need support and guidance from you in order to meet expectations.
An investment in your employees is an investment in your organization.
When considering how to deal with underperforming employees and help them grow, it’s important that leaders take an active role. One way to do this is by investing in leadership development, such as offering courses or workshops to help update their skills or hiring a leadership speaker. The right leadership speaker is an expert who can help foster a culture of success by implementing steps to help your employees grow and by ensuring everyone is afforded the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Be a Role Model
The best leaders are those who lead by example. They not only set the standard for how employees should behave and perform, but they also hold themselves accountable to the same high standards. A leader who models the same behavior that they expect from their employees sets an incredibly powerful precedent, which can encourage underperforming employees to level up their game.
When you lead by example, you display your belief in your team’s abilities to meet high standards, which gives underperforming employees the boost of confidence they need to strive even harder to unlock their full potential.
Regular Check-Ins and Follow-Ups
Having a difficult conversation with an employee is only the first hurdle you will need to overcome when managing poor performance. The hope is that the employee recognizes and corrects the problem immediately, but more often than not, it takes multiple conversations to see real progress.
Improved employee performance is a worthy investment of your time.
Start by giving the employee a reasonable amount of time to improve and schedule daily or weekly meetings to check in with them. During these meetings, review the action plan, discuss their progress, or lack thereof, and encourage further growth. Offer the employee plenty of opportunities to share their thoughts on how their work ethic is developing and what areas are still challenging them.
By following these steps, you can establish an open and positive dialogue that will help the employee grow. Ultimately, their performance should improve, leading to an increase in productivity and greater success for your organization.
Reward Their Improvement
An employee who puts in the effort and produces great work should be recognized, and rewarding a job well done is the ultimate way to ensure that improvement continues. Offering praise when someone on your team makes headway will boost their confidence and inspire them to keep up the good work.
Offering praise when deserved is how the greatest leaders manage employee performance to achieve long-term success.
It’s important that the recognition is heartfelt, meaningful and specific. Share with employees precisely how their accomplishments made a positive impact, and let them know that you believe in their ability to continue this success. When you demonstrate to employees that you’ve got their back and lead with love, they will be well on their way to becoming one of the top performers on your team.
Develop Your Performance Improvement Plan with an Impactful Leadership Speaker
Managing poor performance is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Despite the burden you already carry with the weight of the organization’s success riding on your shoulders, making time to focus on dealing with employee issues before they are compounded is one of the most important ways to invest your time as a leader.
In order to maximize your time and effort, you may want to consider bringing in a leadership speaker to successfully guide you over and around any thin ice in order to cultivate positive improvement for underperforming employees.
By promptly addressing employee challenges with empathy and patience, you can avoid a snowball transforming into an avalanche that destroys your organization.