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Managing Poor Performance Key Points

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Key takeaways from our free ebook to help you Manage Poor Performance on the run.
Get your free copy of ebook here: https://info.reallearning.com.au/managing-poor-performance-ebook

Published in: Leadership & Management

Managing Poor Performance Key Points

  1. 1. MANAGING POOR PERFORMANCE THE REAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE www.reallearning.com.au
  2. 2. PERFORMANCEISN’T PERMANENT.THEWAY PEOPLEPERFORMISTHE ULTIMATEINDICATOROF YOURPERFORMANCEASA LEADER. SIMONTHIESSEN
  3. 3. C1: UNDERSTANDING POOR PERFORMANCE 1.1 Poor performance vs underperformance Is performance management about poor performance or underperformance?  Compare each person’s performance to their own individual benchmark. Decide which to address by considering ROE (return on effort). For example, with the same effort, which will give you a better return: Fixing a 20% performance gap with a previously high achieving five year veteran Improving the performance of someone who has always been mediocre by 20%? Identifywhoinyourteamis underperformingorperformingpoorly Allocateperformancemanagement prioritiesinproportiontothegreatestgains. 1 2
  4. 4. 1.2 Poor performance vs poor behaviour C1: UNDERSTANDING POOR PERFORMANCE You should have two major expectations of every person in your team:         perform well on the task         positive and effective team members. 1 2 Asaleaderyoudeterminewhatisacceptable inyourteamandthatflowsthroughtomorale, motivationandengagement– andultimately teamperformance.
  5. 5. C1: UNDERSTANDING POOR PERFORMANCE 1.3 Cost of underperformance Morale and motivation Reduced standards  Loss of customers  Wasted management time  Damages credibility How much more do good performers produce? extracted from Dr Nikos Bozionelos, 2009 The opportunity cost of having a 'poor but not outrageously bad' performer vs a good one could be the difference between your team achieving consistent high results and just ‘doing OK’.
  6. 6. HAVING JUST ONE POOR PERFORMER CAN DECREASE PERFORMANCE OF THE WHOLE TEAM BY 30% TO 40%. Felps et al. 2006 | How, when, and why bad apples spoil the barrel: negative group members and dysfunctional groups
  7. 7. C2: REASONS FOR UNDERPERFORMANCE It's not me it's you.. is it really? - 2.1 Leadership Thesinglebiggestreasonthat underperformanceoccursand persistsisleadership– or,more accurately,theabsenceofit. The way leaders lead – their leadership style – is the biggest influence on the working climate within a team. The working climate sends two critical messages about performance: What is acceptable How underperformance is dealt with  1 2 Haveyouestablishedstandardsthat makeunderperformanceuncomfortable? Isyourresponsewhenyousee underperformanceappropriate?
  8. 8. C2: REASONS FOR UNDERPERFORMANCE 2.2 The Gap Analysis Model Gap Analysis Model examines the drivers behind underperformance. A‘onesizefitsall’ approachisdoomedtofailure.Ifyourresponsedoesn’t matchthecause,itisn’tgoingtowork– especiallyinthelongterm.
  9. 9. C2: REASONS FOR UNDERPERFORMANCE 2.3 Recruitment If you have people on your team who are low on capability and low on motivation (Can’t Do AND Won’t Do), either you got them like this or you made them like this.  Our advice is to get clear on your ideal person – and then think about what the minimum standard you will accept looks like. You may not always get the ideal person but you should never settle for less than the minimum.  Defineyouridealandminimum person- technicalskill, experience, interpersonalstyle Challengeclichédrequirements: ‘seekingcandidateswithawide varietyofexperience’; ‘mustbe deadlineoriented’; and‘mustbea self-starter.’ Plainlystatewhatis reallyimportantandgetridoffluff. Usesituationalquestionsinyour interviews- describeasituation andaskcandidateshowthey wouldrespond Quickrecruitmenttips 1 2 3
  10. 10. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.1 Match your solution to the problem Following from GAM, respond specifically based on the cause of the underperformance. RESPONSES Get rid of the obstacle, i.e. change it or accept performance at the current level. Help people realise they are missing something important OR have the honest and respected discussion needed to create awareness. Leadership style is critical in dealing with a 'won't do'. Read on to find out how to adapt your leadership style to suit the circumstances. Provide the required skills, training, coaching and mentoring. Wecan'tstressenoughtofirstidentifythesourceofunderperformance,thenmatchyoursolution totheproblem.Itmaybeacombinationoffactors,inwhichyoumayneedarangeofstrategies.
  11. 11. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.2 Leadership style The way you lead creates the climate in which people decide whether they can get away with underperformance, and what your likely response will be. The six dimensions of organisational climates, in descending order of significance to level of performance are: Standards Rewards Team commitment Clarity Responsibility Flexibility 1 2 3 4 5 6 These six factors have a direct impact on the way people behave. If the climate is conducive, employees respond to it positively by trying harder.  When the climate isn’t conducive, people don’t try as hard. This is often referred to as a lack of discretionary effort. Thinkaboutwhatyoucandoineach climatedimensionthatwillmakea differenceinyourteam.
  12. 12. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.3 Awkward discussions Build a stronger basis for serious conversations with well communicated performance criteria and regular performance reviews. Performance criteria (including interpersonal measures) are the goals. They tell your employees what to aim for. Performance reviews are the goal umpires. They let the employee know whether the goal has been scored – or not.  BUT a once a year conversation will not solve the problem.  The key is to have these conversations regularly and with a balanced approach. Have a habit of catching people doings things right as they are more likely to respect feedback from you. We recommend a ratio of 5:1 – find five reasons to acknowledge, appreciate and recognise good work for every time you need to address underperformance. Asaleaderitisyourjobtohelppeople performatthehighestpossiblelevel– andtoholdthemaccountablewhen theydon’t.
  13. 13. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.4 The fallacy of treading lightly – what happens when a manager doesn’t act IF YOU NEVER MAKE ANYONE UNHAPPY YOU AREN'T DOING IT RIGHT. (IF THEY ARE ALL UNHAPPY, ALL OF THE TIME, YOU PROBABLY STILL AREN'T DOING IT RIGHT)! SIMON THIESSEN
  14. 14. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.5 Never make someone comfortable with underperformance Never,everallowsomeonetobe comfortablewithpoor performance. How can you ethically and legally make someone uncomfortable? It’s all about accountability. Examples include: increased reporting reduced discretion or freedom regular process follow­ups formal performance management measures Aslongasit’srelatedtogetting themtoperformattherequired levelandaslongasthatlevelis reasonable,thenit’safair process.
  15. 15. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.6 The ‘two uncomfortables’, the three outcomes – and the one you won’t accept Thetwouncomfortables: Moveupormoveout. Neveraccepthavingthem stayandnotimprove.
  16. 16. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.7 The rule of two reasonables The two reasonables: Am I asking them to do something that is reasonable? Am I asking them in a reasonable way? 1 2 This isn’t an either/ or situation. You have to tick both boxes. Examples: It is not okay to have a calm discussion asking someone to work 60 hours a week. It is not okay to yell and threaten someone for being late NOT reasonable! Youcanstillhavehigh expectationsofpeopleand holdthemaccountableto thoseexpectations,aslongas youfulfillthetworeasonables.
  17. 17. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.8 Resolve at the lowest level possible – but know when to escalate Maybe it's a good idea to first discuss the issue over a cup of coffee. Remember the more formal the process becomes and the further it is escalated, the more entrenched it becomes. However it is also equally important to know when to escalate an issue of poor performance or behaviour – in particular when there are legal, OH&S or safety issues. Find out if your organisation has a process for you to follow if things get to this point – and you should be familiar with exactly what that point is.
  18. 18. C3: STRATEGIES TO RESPOND TO UNDERPERFORMANCE 3.9 Don’t be held to ransom Don'tletthefearofconsequencesof makingpeopleaccountableholdyouto ransom. Five ways employees hold power against their managers: I'll quit I'll talk to your manager I'll go on stress leave I'll go on sick leave I'll report that you're bullying me 1 2 3 4 5 Good. The price of keeping someone who consistently underperforms or behaves poorly is higher than replacing them. Quit? I'lltalktoyour manager Meet with your manager first and get agreement that they will back you up. Stressleave& sickleave Have a well­ documented process of how you hold people reasonably accountable for their performance. There would be a limited period for which they can claim leave. Reportingbully You shouldn't be afraid as long as you fulfill the two reasonables. It IS NOT bullying to ask someone to do their job properly as long as you are reasonable. How to tackle them
  19. 19. A final word. They chose the game. You might not be comfortable with managing poor performance, but the employee chose the game when they decided to underperform. By holding people accountable, you give them the opportunity to be what they can and should be. With strong performance management, you will develop many more people than you will dismiss. As a leader, you have a clear choice: duck the awkward moments or give people the opportunity to grow.  That’s your choice, your obligation as a leader is to give your people theirs.  
  20. 20. Like our summary? Download the full version of our ebook here for FREE Completewithworksheets,case studies,andspecificquestionsto helpyoutakethenextstepsin ManagingPoorPerformance. www.reallearning.com.au  |   simon@reallearning.com.au  |   613 6229 8302  (Int'l)

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