Knowing When Performance Issues are Professional Or Personal

by | Aug 11, 2023 | Resources

I’m often asked how to manage a staff member who is struggling and their performance is not where it should be. There are three critical questions we, as leaders, must ask ourselves when faced with an under-performing employee.

1. Is it my fault?
As the leader, it’s essential to take responsibility for your role in the employee’s performance. Have you provided thorough training, continuous support, and necessary resources to empower your employee? Have you communicated expectations, deadlines, and project details clearly? Reflecting on these factors will help you determine if the issue lies within your leadership or if external factors are at play. Self-awareness is key to addressing performance concerns effectively.

2. Is there something going on in their personal life that I’m not aware of?
Building strong relationships with your team members is vital. Regular one-on-one meetings allow you to connect on a personal level, which can reveal potential challenges they might be facing outside of work. By creating an environment of trust and open communication, employees will be more likely to share personal issues that could be impacting their performance. Knowing their family members by name and showing genuine concern can make a significant difference in understanding their situation.

3. Did we make the right hire?
Hiring is a complex process, and even the most skilled candidates can have hidden strengths or weaknesses. Enthusiastic interviewees might not always translate that enthusiasm into consistent performance, and introverted candidates might bring valuable skills to the table despite initial interview challenges. Remember, hiring decisions are a blend of both science and art. It’s important to assess whether the employee’s struggles are due to a poor fit for their role or if adjustments and additional support can help them thrive.

By addressing these three questions, leaders can gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing an employee’s performance. This approach enables a more nuanced and compassionate approach to management, promoting both individual growth and team success. Remember, leadership is not just about overseeing tasks but about nurturing a work environment that encourages continuous improvement and personal development.

One of the best tools to help your team thrive and find fulfillment is The Working Genius.  Understanding where your team members best contribute to work might mean the difference between an underperforming employee and one that excels.  We’d love to help you with any of your organizational needs.