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The Question to Ask About Poor Performance

Back to School on chalkboard imageIt’s Back-to-School time and we’re doing ten posts on lifelong learning. It’s hard to believe but we’re already at Post #9.

Today, we want to discuss leadership. It pertains to personal leadership, but we’re going to focus on leading others. We’ve been looking at learning opportunities; we’ll discuss this subject as a teaching opportunity.


When the performance of someone in your charge falls short of expectations, there’s a very important question to ask. You start with this because the answer determines your next move. The question is:

Have I done everything in my power to help this person perform up to expectations?

If the answer is no, determine what else you can do. Then do it.

If the answer is yes, then you may have to take more drastic measures.

Start with yourself for two reasons:

  • To give your employee every benefit of every doubt. After all, either you or your predecessor saw something worthwhile or this person wouldn’t be working for you.
  • You can control yourself; you can’t control anyone else. So if the answer comes back on you, it means the solution may be easier.

2 categories of sub-par performance

You can summarize all the reasons why an employee may not be hitting his or her target into two categories:

It is either a knowing problem or a doing problem.

In general, knowing problems are easier to solve than doing problems. When you ask yourself if you’ve done everything you can, you hope you can honestly say “No”. Then when you ask yourself if it appears to be a knowing problem or a doing problem, you hope to honestly answer that it’s a knowing issue.

Then you feel like there’s a real shot at getting the employee on track. They may need encouragement. They may need more training. They may need context for the work they perform.

Teachable vs. learnable

With most jobs, there are elements that are teachable and there are elements that are learnable. You can teach someone how to get past a knowing problem. They have to learn how to get over a doing problem.

Think about it – you’ve probably read, watched or heard directions on how to do something. You thought you had it down … until you tried to do it.

Implementation can be difficult to say the least. But at some point, you get it.

The best decision may be the most difficult one

Your employee has to get it in a reasonably timely manner. If not, you face a difficult choice. You may need to part ways with this employee.

It’s important to keep something in mind. Let’s say you’ve given your best effort to help your employee get up to par. Your employee has given his or her best effort to get on track.

It still isn’t happening. You’re probably doing everyone a favor by making that difficult choice. That doesn’t make it easy, but it can give you some relief about your decision.

Great leaders take responsibility for the performance of every individual in their charge. When someone isn’t performing up to expectations, they quickly take action to get them back on track. That leads to bigg success!

Thanks so much for checking in with us today.

We love synergy here at Bigg Success. So next time we’ll discuss five activities that will make you healthy, wealthy and wise all at the same time. Please join us!

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00469-082709.mp3