Take Control of Your Team:
Now is the
Time to Deal with Bad Employees
By Nathan Jamail
different companies in varying industries tend to battle diverse and
unique challenges, one issue remains constant and prevalent across
the board: bad employees, and having to manage them. When you add a
weak economy to the mix, the situation becomes even more difficult.
The easy answer to dealing with bad performers in a poor economy is
to treat them “The same way you would in a great economy.”
But, like most things in life, knowing the answer is not nearly as
difficult as doing it.
the problem were this easy, companies wouldn’t have bad performers.
In fact, dealing with these bad performers is one of the greatest
struggles of most leaders. Add a poor economy to the mix and
leadership becomes more difficult and overwhelming than ever before
– and making the right decisions becomes more vital to the
good news is, just as good leaders become great leaders during poor
times, the bad performers can become good performers.
Identifying bad performers:
Here’s a situation
at “Any Company USA”: There is an employee who is described by his
manager as not being great, but because he is a long-term employee
who knows what to do, he keeps his job. The employee doesn’t have a
bad attitude, but he doesn’t necessarily have a good one either.
The manager will say that the employee is a good person, but that he
tends to be grumpy or unhappy on occasion. The employee does just
enough to get by, or does what he is asked to do, but does nothing
above and beyond his duties. Everybody knows it, including the
employee is a “bad performer,” which is classified as any employee
who you would not recommend or want to duplicate. If further
definition is necessary, a leader can ask himself a question when
evaluating a bad employee: “Would I hire this employee again,
knowing what I know now?” If the answer is no, again, this employee
is a bad performer.
The need to address bad performers:
The next step is to
address the bad performer for three main reasons:
you don’t address the situation, it sets the tone for the entire
organization that bad performance is acceptable. The supply and
demand theory is applicable for people as well; the supply of
motivated and talented people is higher in a poor economy than any
other economy. A great leader should use this opportunity to assess
the organization’s current talent pool, as well as the individual
performance of each employee, to take advantage of the great supply
of talent. In theory, there should never be a bad performing
employee during a poor economy. Every employee should understand
the company needs everyone’s contribution more than ever, and if
that doesn’t work, every employee should know there are thousands of
motivated people looking for the right opportunity. This statement
is not made to be a threat, because a person working under fear is a
sure way to achieve bad performance. Think of it more as a promise
that they will be held accountable.
a leader, it’s your job to ensure the success of the team and
maximize the performance of the team. A leader cannot maximize the
success of the team if the leader does not address and resolve bad
performance. When you tolerate bad performance, then it is hurting
your own performance. Your commitment is to the team, and keep in
mind that no player is more important than the team.
job as a leader is to motivate and challenge the entire team to make
a difference. If your company is facing tough times, much like in
your personal life, the success is determined by the commitment of
each individual and the accountability of all. A weak economy is a
great excuse to be either successful or unsuccessful. Most people
tend to blame outside influences, such as the economy, for lack of
sales, money and professional and personal success, but they don’t
“blame” those same outside influences when they achieve success.
Well, great leaders don’t blame the economy for their successes or
failures; they use a poor economy to motivate their team and
maximize their results. As a leader, your most important job is to
motivate and develop your employees in any and all conditions.
How to address bad performers:
Now that you’ve
identified the bad performers, and know you have to address the
situation, let’s discuss how to do it. A leader must define
bad performance and great performance, and show the team what they
both look and feel like. It is important that the team understands
the great challenges that bad performance creates, and why it is
imperative for the leader to remove those challenges. This will
explain to each employee why bad performances will no longer be
acceptable, so when you address it in the future, everyone will
understand why. As a leader, you need to show the level of
importance each team member plays in the success of the
organization, and the opportunities a poor economy brings.
expectations of each team member in writing and ask each employee to
create a plan of action showing you how they will succeed. After
you have made any necessary adjustments to each plan, put them into
action. Review the plans on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, recognize
the team members who achieve their tasks and immediately address
those employees who are not achieving their tasks; hold these
employees accountable. This is when most leaders fail – holding bad
performers accountable is difficult yet imperative.
Just like in everyday life, when you ignore a small problem it only
gets bigger. The same holds true when managing poor performers –
things will only get worse. In most professional sports leagues,
they hold an annual draft to select new players, which challenges
the current players to fight for, and earn, their positions. To
effectively deal with bad performers in a poor economy is to treat
every week like draft week; never stop looking for new talent and
continue to challenge current employees to reach new heights!
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