How to deal with poor performing staff

| December 13, 2013

What do you do when your team is not working to their best? Teamwork expert Graham Winter shares his tips.

Managing employee performance is one of the top issues facing businesses of all sizes. Poor performance can greatly impact the bottom line and lead to an unnecessary increase in staff turnover.

Rather than adopting the usual ‘performance review’ approach, I have created a unique ‘one team’ strategy to engage staff.

Below are my top tips for helping to get the most out of your staff:

Share accountability
Treat your individual team members as equal partners by establishing the expectation that you and they are jointly accountable for collaborating around problems and opportunities. Begin with a partnering conversation to set the foundation around values, open two-way conversations and shared problem solving.

Set high performance expectations
Define clear and shared expectations about all of the four core inputs to high performance: achievement, agreed behaviours, shared learning and energy. This is essential if the complexity that characterises poor performance is going to be dealt with at its root cause.

Accelerate cycle times
Make frequent catch-up conversations (at least once per month) a feature of the operating rhythm of your team. This will minimise the chances of getting into the poor performance spiral and also provides the ‘learning loop’ that every team needs to feel that feedback is helpful and not threatening.

Coach to boost resilience
The days of team leaders just being the technical managers of their ‘silo’ are over.  The ‘new’ team leaders are coaches who use coaching questions to shape the thinking and behaviours of their team.

Dealing with poor performance can be an emotion-charged issue for everyone however the Performance Partnering approach shows how a change of mindset and some easy-to-implement practices can reduce the angst and boost productivity and a constructive culture.

Graham Winter is the director of Think One Team. He is a leading advisor to corporate Australia on leadership and teamwork, a three-time Chief Psychologist for the Australian Olympic Team, author of business best-seller Think One Team (John Wiley & Sons) and a Director of Think One Team International.