When was the last time you had a very challenging employee. An employee that simply wasn’t contributing the way you thought they should be. Maybe they have significant attendance issues or come to work late and unorganized all of the time. Maybe the employee just doesn’t seem to have their mind on their job lately and there are all kinds of errors and work that is less than acceptable. It doesn’t really matter what the issue is because the issue is not the problem. The issue is nothing more than a symptom of the root of the problem. So what do you do? In our old mechanistic business model we would start the old progressive discipline root. Have the traditional conversation, begin to document… you know the drill.
We often hear leaders say sometime you just need to cut your loses, pay the person a proper notice period and move on I would like to suggest that this is a really old form of management that does not create great results. Yes, it solves the problem temporarily until the next person has similar issues or until you have to go to HR and ask them to recruit a new and talented person.
What if we start over! Change our thoughts, which will change how we feel which will ultimately change our behavior as a leader towards this employee.
Begin by considering that 99% of your employees are good people who want to do well, perform, belong, fit in and be a strong contributor. At the core or centre of every person is a spirit that wants to do well, contribute and be appreciated for those contributions. So what is going wrong? Why is this employee’s behavior not in alignment with their true spiritual nature? Every time an employee derails (meaning has poor performance or other issues) it is because something is going on in their life that they need to attend to and are not. It could be that they are having a problem at home that is taking all of their attention. It could be that they like their employer but are really in the wrong role and struggling with the work. It could be that they are really struggling with YOU their boss, or another employee. They may be someone who has picked up some bad habits along the way such as an entitlement mentality. I am not suggesting that your derailing employee is a victim of some uncontrollable situation. I would never do that, as I strongly believe that we create every situation, we find ourselves in. However, from your employee’s perspective there could be all kinds of reasons why this derailment might be happening. When someone is truly underperforming they are not happy. Another important point to recognize is that almost all employees who are underperforming or derailing in some way, know that they are derailing and underperforming. They may appear not to know it but I would say that deep down inside they absolutely know they are in trouble and just can’t admit it. Your job is to get them to see it, admit it and to do something about it. Your job is to lead your own behavior in a way that you can assist the employee in leading him or herself.
In today’s crazy competitive business environment where skilled labour is in high demand and low supply we need to access every bit of our employees skills abilities and talents. We should never be looking at the quick fix. Later this week I will post the ‘HOW” to do this on our YouTube Channel.