Do Not Underestimate The High Cost of Under Performers
When we assess organizational culture, we find that too many managers underestimate the high cost of under performers. For many managers taking on a leadership role for the first time, their major concern is whether the team will “like” and “follow” them. First-time managers often mistakenly think that if the team members think they are “nice,” the team will be more engaged and more productive. Creating a high performance team is not that easy.
Why “Nice” By Itself Does Not Work
Of course all leaders should treat people with dignity and respect – that is just a ticket to play the leadership game. But too many inexperienced leaders think “nice” means not rocking the boat or enforcing consequences for substandard performance at work. This perception can be especially true for those team members who are well-liked or have been around a long time.
But the negative consequences of holding on to team members who lag behind in the performance or behavior race are daunting. Under-performers and cultural misfits decrease both morale and productivity.
Harvard reports that toxic employees cause a whopping 78% of coworkers to decrease their commitment to the organization and 66% of teammates to decrease performance. If leaders overlook poor performance, the company suffers in two ways:
New Leaders Should Go Slow to Go Fast
New manager training talks about going slow before going fast, and this is good advice in terms of managing performance. New supervisors should get the lay of the land before making big decisions or taking major steps for team reorganization or change. Once managers understand the current situation, they should address high cost of under performers.
And higher levels of employee engagement directly correlate to higher levels of employee advocacy, discretionary effort, and retention.
Because of the high cost of under performers culturally and financially, you need to set clear performance expectations, define meaningful rewards and consequences, identify why some are under performing, and take immediate steps (e.g., coaching, training, support, work allocation) to help them improve.
The Bottom Line
As a manager you must honestly appraise the quality of your workers or face the negative implications of avoiding your responsibility to deal effectively with under performers. The high cost of under performers should not be ignored.
To learn more about being a high performance manager, download 3 Must Have Ingredients for High Performing Teams
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