When the phrase ‘performance issue’ gets uttered, it’s usually in the context of official documentation that an employer keeps to protect itself. That’s all well and good. Managers need to show that they followed an appropriate process to address an employee’s inability to fulfill their role. This gives the employee a chance to improve and also creates a paper trail should a matter ever go to court. However, rather than see the performance management process as simply a means to cover their bases, managers should view it as a learning opportunity for themselves.
While there are many reasons why an employee’s performance isn’t up to par, let’s look at three that present clear teachable moments for leadership.
#1: Wrong Role
Employees perform best when they’re able to use their talents at work. If their skills are being underutilized, they may grow bored, resulting in cut corners and careless mistakes. On the other hand, if the employee is in over their head, they may get frustrated and give up. Either way, productivity suffers, the employee looks bad, and the company falls behind. In order to prevent this fate, managers need to ensure that the employee’s responsibilities align with their areas of expertise.
#2: Ineffective Supervision
Employees achieve more when they are being effectively led. If a micromanager is overseeing an employee that craves autonomy, the employee may grow resentful and stop caring about the work. On the other hand, if a hands-off manager never checks in with a more tentative employee, the employee may end up procrastinating because they’re not sure what to do. In either case, work gets done at a snail’s pace, the employee becomes disgruntled, and overall morale is low. To keep this from happening, management must be able to adapt their style of supervision to suit each team member.
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#3: Low Engagement and Motivation
Employees that are properly engaged and motivated produce a greater quantity and quality of work. If a manager recognizes a shy employee publicly, that employee may actively try to avoid future recognition, resulting in lackluster performance. On the other hand, if a manager sends a private thank you email to an employee who likes to be in the spotlight, the employee may not even feel recognized, which could result in diminished effort. In either case, the motivational efforts actually backfired and high potential employees may end up joining the ranks of average (or worse) performers. To stop this from occurring, leadership needs to truly engage their team and understand what motivates each person.
How Omnia Can Help
We’ve established that managers need to know their employee’s strengths, be able to adapt their leadership style, and understand what motivates each employee in their department. But how do they achieve this? How do they learn and implement this information?
They could observe their employees or ask them questions. These approaches will yield some useful tidbits and it’s a better tactic than doing nothing at all. However, in order to truly understand what makes their employees tick, as well as their own default supervisory style, they should consider using behavioral assessments.
Omnia is an industry leader that offers a rigorously tested, proven behavioral assessment designed to promote optimal employee performance. Our assessment is simple and can be done in minutes – but it yields powerful results. Once they’re completed, managers are equipped with information to put their people in positions where they can succeed, to lead them effectively, and to keep them motivated for the long haul.
When an employee is not meeting expectations, managers should take a moment to understand why. While employees do need to be held accountable for their performance, leadership needs to see if they can help them do better. Behavioral assessments will reveal invaluable insight that may just turn a troubled employee into a rock star. Management just has to be willing to learn.