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On every team, there is a person lagging behind the pack. He/she is struggling, and it’s your job to do what you can to help him/her take charge of raising performance.

  1. Get them a coach. Whether this coach is within the organization or from the outside, a coach can quickly drill-down to discover where the stuck points are and help outline a path for the employee to grow forward. Coaches help the employee process situations from the past week so that future interactions have the potential to get better results for all involved.
  2. Make your expectations clear. Schedule a time to discuss exactly what standards the employee must abide by and what results he/she must produce daily/weekly. Get these documented in writing. Often, this step is part of a performance improvement plan (PIP) that declares what must change in order to stay employed at your organization.
  3. Give them extra face-time for a while. Often, struggling employees seek to “hide” from leaders as to not expose their weaknesses or shortcomings.  Instead, go right at them with extra accountability sessions that force them to report on their progress against established expectations. While you cannot (and should not) schedule these added one-to-one’s for too many weeks, this extra offer of assistance usually will reveal if the employee is heading the right direction, or on the way out. Confront any breeches of the PIP immediately
  4. Get them specific training in their weakest areas. Maybe it’s communication skills or conflict resolution or a technical skill that needs remediation for this employee to get up to par. Invest in them and require them to both report on what was learned and how he/she will apply the continuing education at work from here forward.  It often sticks even more if they are asked to teach the content to other team members.
  5. Praise efforts in the right direction. While you might be tempted to only look to confirm the employee’s miscues aren’t a fit for your organization, seeking to validate expectations that are met usually produces more wins. What you reward, increases.
  6. Determine if it’s a better fit to stay or go. A come-to-Jesus discussion is necessary if the patterns continue that are just hurting the team or making people work around the employee. It is the time to shoot straight and decide if parting ways might actually be a long-term blessing for the employee and the team, despite the awkwardness of a resignation/dismissal right now. It seems apparent that the employee has not bought into the mission/vision and teamwork necessary for everyone to win.

Before getting an itchy trigger finger to fire a low-performing employee, go the extra mile to see if they’ll turn the corner and together Grow Forward. Contact me at www.paulcasey.org or Growing Fwd Services on Facebook if you want to grow to the next level in your leadership.

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