Monday, 27 September 2010

How to Manage Underperformers

How to Handle the Underperformer on Your Team

One of the challenges that today’s busy managers struggle with is how to divvy up their precious people management time. Not everyone is a star performer so you should focus your limited bandwidth on the people who are doing the most for the organization, right? Unfortunately, high performers usually demand little time. They are self-sufficient, self-motivated and often produce great work regardless of how much face time they get.

The reality is that managers spend the bulk of their time thinking about, dealing with and handling underperformance.

Some have argued that this is wasteful: you should spend as little time as possible with your underperformers until they realize they are in the wrong job and leave. This is misguided advice. It is detrimental to ignore an underperformer and the impact that he has on your team. You can’t afford to let underperformance fester. And even if your underperformer does decide to leave of his own accord, replacing people is expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive.

Instead you should take a proactive approach to addressing the underperformance. Can you really turn around a C player? Underperformers can become valued contributors and you won’t know if your employee is capable of reform unless you give him the chance to try.

Below are four steps you can take to helping your underperformer change his ways:

1.Diagnose the issue. Underperformance may be caused by many things: lack of motivation, skill deficiency, misalignment with goals, personal conflicts, or home/ family issues. Very rarely is the reason straightforward, but it is your job as a manager to understand what is going on. Confidentially gather information about the performance issues from people who work with him.

2.Share what you are seeing. Talk with the underperformer. Be frank about what you are seeing and the impact it is having on you and your team. Be specific and use examples. Ask him how he sees the situation and what he feels the underlying causes are. It’s a natural reaction for him to be defensive. Empathize with his frustration but stand by your point of view. Potential is only worth something if it is realized.

3.Specify necessary changes. Explain what needs to change and how he should go about changing. It’s critical to set up processes by which the underperformer has the opportunity to prove himself. Set clear goals and timelines. If you’re not sure how to support him, ask for help from an HR partner or an external coach.

4.Evaluate and take action. If your underperformer meets his goals, congratulations. If he continues to not meet the mark, you may need to take action. Reflect on the person’s value to the organization. He may be invaluable in one arena but underperforming in another. Can you change his job description so that it better plays to his strengths? Or can you find another position in the organization that’s better suited for his skills? If the answer is no, you may need to terminate. Of course, making a firing decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Whatever you decide, don’t leave it up to them as to whether they leave. That’s a surefire way to create deadweight and hurt the morale of your team.

source: 21 September 2010


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

How to Remove the Boulder of Procrastination

By Julie Henderson

Are you a person yearning for change, but haven't found the courage? It's possible that you struggle with the pain of removing the boulder of procrastination, which is often what is holding people back from going after their dreams.

We spend far too much thinking about whether we should or should not make a change. We analyze it far too much and this creates "analysis paralysis." When we over-analyze and when we think too much, we become immobilized and stuck: it's called procrastination. Procrastination can be defined as: our associations of what we link pain to. The longer we procrastinate, the longer we stand still, and the longer we stand still, the longer we settle for a life of mediocrity.

Don't despair, because I have discovered some reasons for procrastination and found solutions that will give you the courage to overcome procrastination.

1. Afraid to make a wrong decision. People often procrastinate because they are afraid that it will be a bad decision. There will always be the risk of making wrong decisions. But even bad decisions can be more valuable than no decision at all, because they present an opportunity for learning.

2. Not sure how to accomplish the goal. People often think they have to know exactly how to achieve whatever they want. If you know the "why," the how will take care of itself. There are people you may have been successful in a similar area and you can ask them. There is an old adage, "If there's a will, there's a way."

3. No time. People are strapped for time, yet it is one of the key ingredients for success. Procrastination can actually cost you hundreds of dollars. The demands of a career, raising a family and managing a home can leave a person with little or no time to think about their personal goals. In order to make the changes you desire, you need to schedule an appointment with your dreams and goals. Treat the appointments as you would a dental appointment or a hair appointment.

If you don't figure out how to drive procrastination away, the stark reality is you will be stuck doing the same thing for the rest of your life. Recognize some of the reasons for procrastination as indicated above, and implement the solutions. Whenever procrastination creeps up, you will be conditioned in driving it away. As a result you will be able to pursue any goal.

Julie Henderson is an Unstoppable Success Coach and published author, Expect Success - Be Unstoppable, A Woman's Secret Recipe. If you could you use some strategies on how to become unstoppable, go here

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