2 Questions for Leaders to Improve Performance

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We’re doing ten posts on lifelong learning. It’s hard to believe but we’re already at the ninth podcast in the series. In this episode, we want to discuss leadership, and while we always talk about the importance of personal leadership here, today we’re going to focus on leading others.

When the performance of someone in your charge falls short of expectations, there are two very important questions to ask.

Let’s pull out the Professor’s whiteboard for: 2 Questions for Leaders to Improve Performance.

Professors Whiteboard 1116-2 Questions for Leaders to Improve Performance

The first question is:

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

You start with this because the answer determines your next move.

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.

You start with yourself for two reasons:

1) 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.

2) Because you can control yourself, but you can’t control anyone else
So if the answer comes back on you, it means the solution may be easier.

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The second question is…

Is it a KNOWING problem or a DOING problem?

You can summarize all the reasons why an employee may not be meeting his or her expectations into these two categories: knowing problems and doing problems.

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.

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… and 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.

BIGG Takeaway

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!

Direct link to The BIGG Success Show audio file | podcast:

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