Performance problems are not easy to deal with. It helps, though, if you have a plan in place to get a handle on the issues that affect employees that you supervise. Here are six powerful tips that can help you do a better job of tackling this aspect of your job.

The Objective

The objective of addressing performance issues is to build a stronger team and by extension, a stronger company. A strong, cohesive team works better, quicker, happier and with a vested interest in the success of the company. It’s great when you can address all the potential problems at the beginning of employment but that’s not realistic. You may be a new manager in charge of a team. You haven’t worked with them and they haven’t worked with you. While they may understand company objectives, they aren’t familiar with your team expectations.

6- Step Model for Turning Performance Problems Around

These powerful tips can be summed up in a six-step model that is handy for dealing with all sorts of performance problems. Obviously, simpler issues won’t require much preparation for each step but this method has the benefit of working for both small and large problems.

  1. Describe the gap – What exactly is the performance problem? Don’t deal in innuendo or speculation or hearsay. Stick to the facts, be specific and accurate. Tackle only one issue at a time instead of lumping them all together.
  2. Ask for their input – How does the employee see the problem that you have just described to them? Invite accountability from them. Get their side of the story in their own words. Listen to what they are saying. Evaluate body language as well to get to the root of the problem. Keep the employee on your side and not on the defensive.
  3. Ask for their suggestions – After you have established the performance issue and you both agree what it is, it’s time to begin brainstorming solutions – together. Don’t dictate. Allow them to problem solve. Consider their suggestions and then add those of your own that you feel helpful as a resolution.
  4. Explain steps that will be taken to resolve the performance issue – Now that you have input from the employee as well as your suggestions, it’s time to formulate a plan of action. Stay focused on the positive aspects of taking these steps. Be sure to reiterate the consequences of continued poor performance for information purposes.
  5. Summarize everything you’ve discussed – Before the meeting is over, make certain that both of you are on the same page. Ask the employee to summarize what you have discussed and each step that they will be accountable for implementing and you for follow up.
  6. Express your support – A performance issue review shouldn’t end badly if you can help it. Let them know that you are in their corner and want them to succeed. Offer encouragement whenever it is appropriate.
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