6 Ways to deal with a poor performing team member
Does someone on your team seem distracted or bored? Is the performance of your star employee slipping up?
Don't ignore the signs. Instead, tackle this head on, before their lacklustre performance impacts your work mojo. A slump could potentially lead to poor performance at work and soon you'll find one person's lack of rigour and enthusiasm impacting the whole team.
But what do you do in such a situation? For starters, even with your busy schedule, you must find time to act. However, don't make any hasty moves. Under no circumstances should you lash out at the employee and add to his problems. Your objective should be to understand why a once competent team player has turned into a mere shell of his/her former professional self.
Here is how you should go about it:
1. Recognize the symptoms
Are you sensing a sharp drop in morale coupled with exhaustion and mental fatigue? Or a drop in work performance, an unwillingness to take on new work? If this is an employee who has spent a few years in your organization and almost a decade in the industry, you could have a case of mid-career crisis on your hands.
2. Talk, try & find out the cause
Be honest, and tell your team member that you’ve noticed a drop in job performance. He/she may react badly to this, given they are already under tremendous pressure, so remain calm in the face of his/her reaction. Talk gently and try to find out the real cause.
3. Don't speak, listen
Put your preconceived notions aside and listen carefully to what he/she has to say. Identify key words or phrases that are indicative of unhappiness and quiz him/her closely on them. Ensure that you do not come across as annoying or insensitive.
4. Offer help
Based on your own experience, assess what is the need of the hour. Does the employee need time off for rest and relaxation? Is he/she looking for new challenges at work?
Offer whatever help you can. Sit down with the employee and explain he/she is a valuable resource to your team and the company. Discuss his/her professional role. What does he/she love or hate about job? Revaluate the work profile and if possible, try and include more of the work that he/she enjoys.
Remember, not to encroach on an employee's personal space.
5. Up skill the employee
If you believe that the monotony of daily work is largely responsible for the slump, consider recommending him/her for a more challenging task. Alternatively, figure out training needs to upgrade his/her skills. If the employee has been overlooked for a promotion, and you think he/she deserves; you can consider batting for it now.
6. Measure progress
You can do all these things for a team member, but all your efforts will come to nothing if there is no progress on the ground. So set targets -- small ones at first -- to assess whether there has been any progress in employee engagement. Monitor his/her work and be sure to share feedback.
- Be supportive while sharing your feedback
- Communicate to identify any underlying issues causing problems
- If the problem isn't work-related but impacts performance on the job, suggest ways they can get help
- Set goals, up skill or change the job profile to help employees re-engage
- Track progress, share feedback
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