6 Ways To Manage Poor Performance Within Your Team

To prevent the situation from getting out of hand, there are five key strategies to manage poor performance by a member of your team:
  1. Don’t delay. …
  2. Have tough conversations. …
  3. Follow-through. …
  4. Document each step. …
  5. Improve your own performance. …
  6. Master the performance management conversation.

Some employees may not be receiving the resources and clear feedback they need to develop and improve; others may be unable to recognize that they’re struggling; the reason why these employees’ actual output and their perceptions of success don’t match up is unclear. Whatever the reason, if managers don’t take action, the employee’s work won’t get better, and the company will lose the value of a team member who could thrive with the right support. A more subtle risk is that the boss will appear to approve of poor work, which could demotivate and disengage competent workers. However, if you can pinpoint the root cause of a performer’s lack of self-awareness, you can use these five strategies to either change the problematic behaviors or determine whether it is even possible to do so.

Be clear about expectations. A client nonprofit had a friendly workplace and a strong cultural commitment to understanding one another’s needs. The particular vice president’s lack of accomplishments infuriated the board chair, who thought she was succeeding because of her efforts. The VP’s manager was a senior executive, and the board chair reminded him that he was in charge of making sure results. The manager reiterated performance expectations with the vice president, but he didn’t explain the harm to the company or that her job was in danger because he didn’t want to put the blame on her or offend her. He continued to lose faith in the vice president and eventually scaled back her responsibilities as a covert way of acknowledging her lack of advancement. Later, the manager and the board chair both agreed that no one had been straightforward enough with her regarding her performance issues.

Provide employees with resources and support. Most workers require guidance, mentoring, and close supervision to advance, especially if they are assuming a role that is new to the business or are promoted to fill a position that needs to be filled. They might not even be aware of their deficiencies if their natural abilities are insufficient to fulfill the requirements of their role and responsibilities.

In order to fill the gap left by the abrupt departure of an executive two levels up, a client company promoted a director. Despite being suddenly in charge of numerous people doing various jobs, no one in the senior leadership assessed the new director’s development needs. The new director believed that because of the promotion, he was succeeding. The director, however, turned into a burned-out micromanager as a result of being unable to manage this more difficult job the way he could his previous one, leading to severe operating bottlenecks and employee dissatisfaction.

Determine whether you’re willing to continue investing in the individual. If not, lowering your expectations is a much more practical course of action. A CEO eventually transferred some of the riskier and sexier responsibilities of the VP’s position to another executive after growing increasingly frustrated with a VP who consistently talked a great game but whose results over several years were always just shy of their target. Despite being offended, the vice president stayed and, thanks to the narrower scope of his duties, was more successful.

Assess whether they’ll accept help. Maintaining an illusory success or status drains one’s emotional reserves. The Dunning-Krueger effect, a cognitive bias that prevents people from realizing how poorly they’re performing and that they need help, affects a lot more people than imposter syndrome does. A client organization’s mid-level administrator bristled at the suggestion that his abilities needed to be improved and disregarded the coaching that was provided to him. He started to set up his colleagues, undermine them, and misrepresent their contributions and concerns because he found fault with everyone who challenged him. When these actions were discovered, the company was forced to fire him.

Target praise carefully. It’s crucial to give an employee with an exaggerated sense of their own performance praise when they produce excellent work or handle a situation well. However, if the compliments are all they receive, they might begin to believe that everything they do is exceptional. Make sure to link your compliments to other issues you want them to address. For instance, you might say, “Now that you did such a great job with the ABC presentation, I’d like you to also [do the next thing they need to improve] for the next one.” Make sure you are clear on both the necessary new behavior and the reasons why it is necessary as part of satisfactory job performance. By doing this, you have a better chance of getting the necessary behaviors, even though they may still have an inflated view of themselves.

It takes a lot of attention and involvement to assist an unknowing underperformer in becoming more realistic about their work. Knowing what is causing their ignorance will either help you determine what support they need to improve or confirm your suspicion that they may not be able to perform the job’s requirements.


Why is it important to manage poor performance?

Because of the advantages you and your team may experience when workers complete their tasks on time, to the best of their abilities, and with a positive attitude, it’s crucial to manage poor performance in the workplace. Each employee plays a crucial role in creating a pleasant and effective work environment. When you deal with an employee’s subpar performance, you can also

Strategies to successfully manage poor work performance

Find out how to manage an employee who is performing poorly at work by reading this list of tactics:

Address the issue immediately

The sooner you inform a worker about their subpar performance, the sooner they can correct the issue. An honest discussion about the employee’s performance can help them stay on track to improve their work and continue to feel satisfied in their position since they may not even be aware that they aren’t meeting expectations. The productivity of the workplace can greatly increase if an employee is able to address their performance quickly.

Provide honest feedback

It’s crucial that you be sincere with your employee when discussing their performance. Discuss any flaws you have found and how their performance affects the team’s productivity as a whole. In order to avoid ambiguity and improve communication, give your employee some concrete examples. Poor communication can harm trust, collaboration, and work performance. Reiterate your expectations during the conversation and provide your staff with concrete steps they can take to improve their work.

It’s crucial that you welcome their feedback as well. You might discover that their poor performance is a result of a lack of training, or they might complain about their uncomfortable position or the additional responsibilities you’ve given them. Genuine communication can improve your understanding of one another and your capacity to collaborate on finding a solution.

Encourage accountability

When team members are aware that they are dependent on their performance to achieve the group’s objectives, employees are more motivated to work hard. Encourage everyone on your team to be supportive of one another, to ask for assistance when they do, and to have sincere conversations with team members who appear to be having difficulties in their roles. Employees are more likely to stick with their work and their coworkers when they understand the importance of what they do.

Consider holding a meeting where all team members can share their current projects and discuss their roles on the team. Employees may gain a better understanding of their coworkers and duties as a result.

Form a performance improvement plan

A performance improvement plan is a written strategy that advises the employee on how to improve their performance. Consider creating a performance plan based on your conversation with your employee that details the new objectives they have for improving their work, the deadline by which you’d like to see these improvements implemented, and whether you’ll meet regularly to review their progress. If you need to address additional issues with an employee after they’ve accepted and signed the plan, a performance plan may also be helpful.

Follow up with your employee

Being able to support your employee and give them the chance to improve is part of managing poor performance. Your support can have a significant impact on their confidence, level of loyalty to the company, and capacity to evaluate their performance and make improvements. To discuss performance and make sure your employee isn’t maintaining bad habits, think about scheduling regular meetings with them. By setting up a meeting schedule, you are also demonstrating to your employee that you care about their progress and are not only concerned with their subpar performance.

Recognize your employees strengths

Since it’s possible that your employees’ poor performance is a result of their lack of motivation at work, you might find that rewarding them for their contributions leads to higher-quality work. Knowing your employees’ strengths can also help you give them jobs or additional responsibilities that will help them succeed.


What are four tips for managing poor performance?

My best advice on managing poor performance is to prevent it by providing:
  • Clear expectations.
  • Regular feedback.
  • Training and development.
  • Reward and recognition of high performance and the right behaviours.
  • And finally, do not procrastinate.

Why is managing poor performance important?

You can have a positive impact on the team’s overall productivity and effectiveness by managing subpar performance. Using methods to inspire the team both individually and collectively fosters trust and enhances communication.

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