Performance management is a part of any leaders’ responsibility regardless of the type organization. Whether you are a leader in a church, business, non-profit entity, school, government, or professional sports team, chances are you will face situations when employees are “under-performing.” How and when you confront poor performance are keys to the desired outcomes. As a leader you need to determine the type of culture you want to create within your team or department. I think most of us would desire a culture where people are encouraged to learn, grow, and are motivated to contribute to the organizations success. This type of environment or culture requires leaders to be consistent in how they handle performance management. Below are 2 illustrations I would challenge leaders to consider regarding team member performance:
Performance = Ability x Motivation*
Ability is the team member’s aptitude as well as the training and resources available.
Motivation is the result of desire and commitment.
A team member with 100% motivation and 75% ability will more often than not meet or exceed desired performance. However, a team member with only 25% ability will likely achieve less than desired performance, regardless of his or her level of motivation. In cases where ability is the issue, leaders must quickly ask themselves the following questions:
- Have I provided all necessary tools, information, and training to this team member?
- Is this person in the right role within the organization?
- Does this individual fully know the goals related to his/her performance?
In cases where motivation is the issue affecting poor performance, I would the following illustration:
Using this scale, leaders should keep a conscious awareness of the state of motivation for both individuals and the overall team. Additionally, the leader must consider where they stand within the scale in relation to their attitude about projects and activities within the business. When poor performance is a direct result of motivation, leaders should quickly assess what’s causing the individual to be de-motivated at work. If the de-motivation is home or health related, the leader can exhibit compassion or sympathy, but can also emphasize the needs of the business or organization. If the de-motivation is work related, the leader should do a quick self-examination and ask the following questions:
- As the leader, am I the cause of the team members’ lack of motivation?
- As the leader, do I need to alter my direction or support to this person?
- As the leader, do I believe this person’s motivation will change in the desired time frame?
Finally, it’s important to understand that poor performance should not be ignored for long periods of time. In the desired culture/working environment we discussed earlier, team members should expect you as the leader to react to poor performance in a timely manner. And as long as you are consistent in your approach, chances are your entire team will not be surprised when you respond to poor performance. I would offer leaders the following “R” options in resolving poor performance: Resupply, Retrain, Refit, Reassign, or as a final option Release. Obviously, releasing staff is and should not be fun for any leader, but unfortunately instances do occur that require such action. And, if handled in the correct way the action will be respected by others within organization.
For more information regarding staff motivation, check our YouTube series on Motivation by clicking here.
* From “Developing Management Skills” (8th Edition) p.27, by David A. Whetten and Kim S. Cameron. © 2011. Reprinted by permission of Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ.