Is it not tricky to deal with an employee who is suddenly inching towards non-performance? Are you a not aware that such subordinates will bring up pertinent issues such as lack of motivation? How do you handle such a scenario and communicate your dissatisfaction about their decline in performance? Does it not become difficult if the employee has earlier been an outstanding performer? Does it not become embarrassing if you have to repeatedly communicate your dissatisfaction to an employee who does not understand the enormity of the situation and consider change?
These questions routinely trouble leaders at some point or the other in their careers. Here are some ideas for such leaders to handle hitherto-outstanding yet currently under-performing individuals.
Seek the support of facts and figures.
Make use of the metrics you established earlier and logically explain the decline in performance. Put it across positively by encouraging the employee to avoid falling into the cycle of under-performance. Having performance figures of everyone in the team is good. However, refrain from comparing an employee with others at this stage before you determine the undermining factors of the sudden decline. While discussing facts and changes, you can discuss with the employee to explore any unstated issues and prepare a plan to address them.
Talk to the employee.
Communicating dissatisfaction is not a one time task. You need to regularly catch up with the employee, track performance, and discuss the reason behind changes at every phase. Indeed, it helps to appreciate the employee for every positive outcome and highlight such achievements. Regular communication about work and morale at the workplace often helps you arrest any dissonance within the mind of the employee.
Keep it remote.
If the declining trend in not significant and is yet in the early stages, it helps to isolate the incidents from others in the team and communicate only with the concerned employee. Refraining from announcing in general or highlighting lack of performance in a team meeting. In fact, even if some facts reflect, you might give some room for improvement before getting judgmental about the employee’s productivity levels in front of the team. Wherever possible, recollect previous achievements of the employee as part of the team and encourage the employee to regain lost glory.
Handle people issues with sensitivity.
More often than not, people issues can go unnoticed and hamper the productivity of high performance teams. Analysing the work-process-relationships between various members of the team and checking the hierarchy in such relationships regularly can help you in identifying any troubling people issues. Additionally, having one-on-one discussions with each member of the team at least once a month will help prevent any minor people issues transforming into a crisis.
Keep your boss informed.
If your subordinate has shown signs of declining productivity at work, make it a point to keep your boss informed. While dealing with these issues, share your plans with your boss and seek your boss’ intervention to get things done better and fast, as necessary. Proactively, keeping your boss informed will avoid you earning the tags of being biased. Having email communication as proofs will be of great help to address issues in the short and long term.
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