How to Better Handle Poor Performance as a Manager

How to Better Handle Poor Performance as a Manager
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How to Handle Poor Performance
Whether your whole team is performing below par or you have a team member who is not measuring up to your standards, you as a new manager are responsible for knowing how to handle poor performance.

Unfortunately, most managers avoid having crucial, but difficult performance conversations with their team members because they do not want to hurt people’s feelings or deal with the potential fallout.

The Majority of Managers Are Uncomfortable
A recent Harris Poll found similar trends as our own organizational culture assessment data:

  • 69% of managers were uncomfortable communicating with employees
  • 37% avoided giving direct performance feedback if they thought the employee would respond negatively

But your success as a manager depends upon the success of your team.  And the success of your team depends upon defining and meeting clear performance expectations.  How can you expect your team to perform at their peak if they do not know where they stand?

3 Ways to Better Handle Poor Performance as a Manager
It does not feel good to be part of a team that is not meeting expectations.  Take the reins as a manager and do the work needed to get the team back on track.  From our new manager training workshop, here is what you need to do.

  1. Ensure Performance Expectations Are Clear
    Does each team member clearly understand what they are expected to do and why? Make sure they know how success is measured, the role they are expected to play, the scope of their role, and how they contribute to the greater success of the organization.

    Then make sure that they know the expected rewards for success and the potential consequences for failure.

    You will know you are on the right path if your performance expectations are clear, believable, relevant, meaningful, fair, consistent, timely, accurate, and possible. A long but important list of criteria to set the stage for effective performance management.

  2. Establish Transparency
    When individual and team results are transparent at work, everyone knows where they stand.

    This creates a performance environment where people can easily take responsibility for performance.  High performing teams can respectfully talk to and work with one another to identify and close performance gaps.

    When it comes to high performance and a culture of accountability, ambiguity is your enemy.

  3. Model the Way
    Lead in a way where openness, mutual respect, constructive conflict, and honest communication are valued. Address conflicts and shortfalls openly and honestly — without getting personal.  Set the example of how you want your team members to behave.

The Bottom Line
Being a manager is not for the faint of heart. But being able to lift your team’s performance can be immensely satisfying.  Set high standards, measure and share results, and encourage a team culture that is accountable and inspired to perform at a higher level.

To learn more about how to handle poor performance, download The Research Behind Performance Expectations that Managers Need to Know

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