Do you have a team that performs less well than you desired? One of the many challenges every business leaders face is dealing with underperforming teams. Well, what’s underperformance? It simply means performance that is not up to the standards set by the organization.
Performance = Ability x Motivation
When you see the above equation, you can understand that good performance requires strong ability and great motivation. In other words, either lack of ability or low motivation can lead to underperformance. If you’re a business leader or manager who wants to mange underperforming teams, here are 10 ideas for you.
#1. Observe your team
Don’t take any quick decisions without having a proper understanding about your underperforming team. So the first step is to observe your team well. Check out the results produced by the team for the assigned tasks. How they are performing together? Are they good enough to work as a team? What is missing? As a business leader, you should be a bit more patient about this. If you do this correctly, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team.
#2. Be ready to listen what they want to say
Many business owners and managers never care about what their teams want to say. Just listen to your employees before jumping to a conclusion. Trust me, if you spend several minutes of your time for this, you can reap long lasting benefits. In most cases, underperformance occurs due to simple reasons that can be easily taken care of. However, there are also things that beyond our control. Ask your employees what’s bothering them. What if it is your fault to express your ideas clearly or any other external factors? You can’t realize it unless you ask your team members what’s going on, right?
#3. Identify the issue
Usually, performance is measured with the help of results achieved. More number of sales, high percentage of repeat clients, increased customer satisfaction etc. are the results a company wants to achieve. Understand the contributions of each team and how they impacted the overall outcome. Once these details are analyzed, you can identify the issue that prevents a team from performing well. Then, dig deep to understand the root cause of the issue and try to find a solution.
#4. Give proper training
Make sure that you’re giving proper training to all your employees clearly and succinctly stating your terms regarding performance. Don’t just stick to verbal discussions; you should maintain proper documentation for everything you do. Giving an appropriate training can help your team members develop their skills and knowledge. Additionally, this will help them a lot to build their carrier and also help your organization in a positive manner.
#5. Realize what motivates your team
Studies have shown that lack of motivation can lead to underperformance. So you, as a business leader or manager, need to realize what makes your team of employees motivated. Are they not getting the support from their team members or management? Are they feeling unappreciated or unrecognized? Are the wages or benefits not good enough? Well, this is a difficult task to deal with. However, if you manage to realize what motivates your team, you’ll certainly get better results.
#6. Set SMART performance goals
Do you set SMART performance goals for your teams? SMART means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-framed. This is an important task while dealing with an underperforming team. Create individual performance targets for each person. Ask your team members how they want to improve, what new skills they would like to learn and what they want to achieve. Once you’re clear with this, set SMART performance goals for every team.
#7. Establish a follow up process
Once performance goals have been decided, you need to consistently monitor your team’s progress. Good communication is needed here. If a team is asked to finish a task within a certain time frame, make sure that they have achieved it. Compare the results achieved by the team members with the expected results. If there are any deviations, then corrective actions should be taken. Establishing a follow up process makes your employees believe that you’re concerned about their work. This can gradually boost your company’s culture and morale.
#8. Appreciate and Reward
Some leaders ask their employees to improve, but fail to appreciate or reward for their efforts. Eventually, this creates an unfriendly relation between employees and management. Think wisely. Employees are humans, and they want to get appreciated for the hard work they put on. Make sure that you appreciate your employees even if they make a small improvement. Rewards in the form of a financial incentive or responsibility might work well. Sometimes, a simple mention like “great job”, “thank you” or “well done” can also help!
#9. Formal actions from the management
Underperformance of a team can also happen due to procrastination or bad conduct of several members. This can probably make the hardworking members disengaged and subsequently affect the overall performance of the team. If an employee or a team continues to underperform, a manager should formally deal with this attitude. This makes every employee know that the management is serious and never tolerates anything against the company’s culture or group dynamics.
#10. Know the perfect time to say goodbye
Sadly, there are occasions when several employees underperforming continuously despite the best support you give them. No business leaders want to have poor quality of work and customer dissatisfaction. Retaining bad performers can probably delay or even decline your company’s success. It is hard to let someone go from a company, so consider it as a last resort. Leaving out someone who is consistently underperforming and replacing with someone better is necessary in several occasions. In the long run, you’ll realize it was the right decision.
Underperforming teams can seriously damage your company’s growth. 8 out of 10 times, underperformance can be rectified if you take necessary steps in the right time. Turning an underperforming team into a high performing team doesn’t happen overnight. This requires a lot of hard work and patience. For this reason, every business leader can try the above ideas to effectively manage an underperforming team.