One of the biggest drainers on a manager’s time, energy and productivity are underperformers. The reason these folks are such a drain is partly the manger’s own fault. Here’s why. Managers often do not know how to address these time eating, energy draining and productivity-robbing individuals. More often than not, it’s procrastination. The reason this task is procrastinated is that the manager dreads having such conversations. The conversation must take place.
When a manager fails to have such conversations, time eating, energy draining and productivity-robbing behaviors can infect the team, the department and even the entire organization. Soon the manager finds it difficult to concentrate, begins avoiding the non-performing individual and maybe even his or her own boss because of fear of a conversation with his own boss about the lack of progress on projects. Further, the manager may terminal termination fear. In other words, the manger keeps this employee on the job until he or she has no fear of termination and the time eating, energy draining, nonproductive behaviors are just an accepted thing. At the end of each day, the manager feels tired, listless, depressed and begins dreading going to work. What is a simple solution to such problems?
Here are three ideas. 1) Better hiring systems. Ensuring the right fit for the job will help eliminate hiring people who do not have the knowledge, skills and talent (KSAs) that the job demands. Let the job tell you what it needs to produce at its optimal level through job benchmarking. 2) Training. Train your mangers how to manage and coach. Mangers who coach have the ability to uncover and draw out KSAs from individuals. Oftentimes, the poor performer may not be aware he or she possess these KSAs or may not have the confidence to put them in action. 3) Use assessments for feedback, coaching and evaluation. Assessments can help take managers “off the hook” during tough conversations. KSAs are in black and white. Often when an employee and manager have the ability to see information writing, a performance plan can be implemented that both manager and employee can agree and ensure it is one that matches the employee’s abilities and the needs of the organization. Since the employee is the one who input the information driving the results of the report from the assessment, there is little push back. The manager may discover that the employee is in the wrong job and placing the individual elsewhere in the organization he or she will become productive. If termination is unavoidable, the individual now has information to help him or her find a job that is a better fit.