Let’s face it: dealing with poor performance at work is probably your least favorite part of the day. But do you know how to manage bad performance in an efficient and effective way? This guide will share what not to do when managing employees who aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities.
- Ignore the situation. When an employee doesn’t do his or her task, it creates a chain of negative consequences, from lower productivity to lower team morale. So as tempting as it might be to let the employee “work it out,” a good supervisor will start dealing with poor performance at work as soon as the pattern emerges.
- Keep performance standards a well-guarded secret. Remember how you felt when you got in trouble as a child for breaking a rule you didn’t know existed? Employees get that same feeling when they are disciplined for not meeting a standard they were unaware of. Make sure all performance expectations are clearly outlined and that the worker understands them.
- Let the frustration get to you. There’s no question that dealing with poor performance at work is stressful. But allowing their performance to get under your own skin will do nothing but turn you into a crab no one wants to work for. Instead, take some deep breaths, do a few yoga poses, or do whatever makes you a calmer person better able to deal with workers effectively.
- Assume the worker is just lazy. That employee is a lazy bum, right? Probably not. Employees want to feel confident, needed, and respected. So when dealing with poor performance at work, a savvy manager will speak with the worker to find out if another factor is triggering the behavior. For instance, you might find the once-stellar worker who now can’t complete tasks has just learned his child has a serious medical condition. That type of insight will help you start getting the worker back on the right track.
- Leave the employee on his or her own. After all, you’re not their personal support system. Really, you’re not. But part of effectively dealing with poor performance at work may include providing resources when necessary. Remember the employee with the sick child? You might direct him to the company health care provider’s resources, such as a stress management program.
- Set the employee up for failure. No matter what your personal feelings about a worker might be, don’t allow those feelings to sabotage him or her. For example, don’t publicly distance the person from the rest of the team by saying things like “You know Rich…he’s just rude” or “She’s never been good at operating that machine.”
- Just fire them. Hiring a new employee costs time, money, and productivity, which is why, in most cases, it’s in your best interest as a supervisor to start dealing with poor performance at work before it becomes a termination situation.
Dealing with poor performance at work isn’t fun, but it is necessary. Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to start employing the management tactics that build a team able to get the job done.
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President and Founder at Easy Small Business HR
Get more tips on interviewing, hiring, managing and engaging your employees. Dianne Shaddock is the President of Easy Small Business HR, Employee Hiring and Managing Tips and the author of the eGuides, "How To Supervise: What Your Boss Never Told You Before You Took the Job", A Step-By-Step Guide For New and Seasoned Managers and "How To Find and Hire the Best Employees".
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Matthew Boyce says
Great topic! I know that this is one of the most difficult aspects of employee management, and I have seen first-hand how mismanagement of problem employees tends to create bigger issues in the end. I will definitely look into the book that you have reviewed.
One of the big mistakes I have seen is related to not being clear with respect to performance standards and expectations (number 2 on your list). This is especially bad if the manager ignores the situation until he or she can no longer stand it.