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Hidden Reasons For Poor Performance Part 1
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When faced with poor performance, a lot of managers opt to eliminate the employee in question rather than to eliminate the reasons behind the performance. Many managers wrongly blame poor performance on lack of motivation or on a poor hiring selection by the company. But, in reality, the majority of performance problems are caused by poor management – not bad employees. The next time you feel ready to run an employee out the door, make sure that you’re not the problem. Use the following checklist to identify nonperformance issues:

They don’t know what to do. This goes back to an article I posted on my blog about proper training. An employee should not be left on their own until they think they are ready, not when you think they are. Are you paying your employees to guess what you want them to do instead of telling them specifically what you expect?

Solution: Give employees accurate job descriptions that spell out the job behaviors you expect. Specify the steps required to accomplish each goal, the dates each step should begin and end, and the results you want.

They don’t know how to do it. People often get promoted several times without being taught how to do each job. Have you ever worked for a boss who never did the job he’s supervising you how to do? Did you have any respect for them?

Solution: Before you promote an employee choose a person that is well trained in the position they will be taking. This of course falls on you to give that training. That person can be used to train all new employees being promoted to that position and you will be assured everyone is getting the same training. Provide training materials and manuals. After the training is done provide a test for training effectiveness.

They don’t know why they should do it. Many employees don’t see the relevance of their work.

Solution: Explain how their particular jobs benefit the organization. When an employee sees how valuable they are they will perform better.

They think their way is better. Many employees assume they were hired to reinvent their jobs.

Solution: Before work begins, get input from your employees. If someone presents a feasible idea for “working smarter” try it. A lot of companies procedures came from employees who do the job every day and may have a better way. But if the idea won’t work, sell them on your idea.

They think something else is more important. Some of your employees may have different priorities than you.

Solution: Prioritize projects as you assign them. Give each employee a list of priority categories to rank assignments themselves. You should also explain to employees why one task has higher priority than another.

They think they are doing it. Many employees assume that if they are left alone, they’re doing a good job. It’s the old no news is good news.

Solution: Give feedback several times a day. If it’s negative you want to correct the performance right away. If it’s positive it creates a pleasant working atmosphere and the employee feels they are a value to the organization.

They are rewarded for not doing it. Sometimes, poor performers are given easy assignments instead of being held accountable to work to standard.

Solution: Monitor difficult tasks closely until performance meets your expectations. When the expectations are given it will be no surprise to the employee when you tell them the job was not done to standard.

They are punished for doing what they are supposed to do. Have you ever had an employee approach you with a problem and your response was “what did you guys mess up now”? or “ if I want it done right I should have done it myself”? These are great examples of shooting the messenger who delivered the bad news. Human behavior shows that when people do things that are followed by punishment, they tend to do those things less frequently.

Solution: How you react to situations determines how approachable you are as a boss. If you scream at bad news all the time your employees won’t come to you and before you know it you have a bigger problem on your hand. Encourage your employees to come to you but watch how you react.


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