Are you finding it challenging to get better results from certain employees, even when you’ve addressed the same performance issues with them time and time again?
We often view performance issues as being related to a character flaw in the person whose performance is weak. This tends to be particularly true when the performance issue tends to be either significant or repetitive.
But what if we shifted our lens on how we see performance issues?
What if we start to identify the underlying challenge that is causing the performance issue rather than viewing it as being a personal characteristic of the employee?
When we shift our lens and let go of judgment, we become curious. Curiosity opens the door that will leads us to sustainable solutions.
When we move to collaboratively identifying the underlying source of challenges with an employee, we’re able to better determine what types of supports the employee might need to enhance their performance. In doing so, it becomes much easier to get better results from your employees.
Let me share a story that will help to illustrate this. I was recently consulting with a client who had one particular employee who was poorly perceived by the rest of the team. He was viewed as self-centered, uncollaborative and unable to work together effectively with others on a team.
This employee had a communication style that was direct and to the point. Other team members, who did not share this same communication style, were upset with the way they were being spoken to. This dynamic lead to quite extensive misunderstandings and ultimately, to conflict within the team. The performance and productivity of the team members decreased, as a lot of time ended up being spent discussing and navigating communication challenges, rather than focusing on work tasks.
The symptom was conflict and decreased productivity. But the underlying challenge was a misunderstanding of one anothers’ communicative intent and weaknesses in the skills needed to address this effectively.
In working together, we explored the communication styles of each of the individuals on the team, to increase awareness of their and others’ communication preferences. Team members learned and practiced how to assertively and respectfully address when their needs are not met in interactions with others. We discussed behavioural signs that conflict was being avoided or enhanced and learned tools to navigate conflict more effectively.
Once the team was able to identify the underlying root cause of the problem, they were able to develop the skills needed to address the real issue causing the problematic symptom of conflict and reported performance issues.
If you have an employee who’s exhibiting poor performance regularly, not all is lost. These problems tend to persist when we have yet to figure out what is truly causing the poor performance.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to get better results from your employees, I’d invite you take a look at my keynote/workshop Giving Feedback That Works which will provide you with the skills needed to uncover the underlying cause of employee performance issues.
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