Where do you begin when addressing a performance problem? So many managers begin in the wrong place by putting the employee on the defensive. Here are some easy ways to begin that process on the good foot and hopefully keeping the ball rolling in the right direction.

No employee is perfect. Some problems can be addressed simply with an understanding ear and some words of encouragement. Other issues affect the performance of others on the same team, other teams and the overall project or client satisfaction.

One way to avoid some issues is to make your expectations known up front. Let each employee on your team know what you expect in way of general company performance as well as task specifics for each project. Allow team members to ask questions and express their opinions. This is your opportunity to explain to them the reasons behind certain policies, why their priorities need to be more in line with the company philosophy and fine tuning your management style for each member of your team.

4 Easy Ways to Approach Performance Problems

Here are some tips to get moving. Remember, tackle performance issues while they are still manageable before they get out of hand. Think of these tips as a to-do list for yourself to make sure that you don’t miss anything.

  1. Define the Problem – What is the actual issue that has been brought to your attention? Gather as much information as you can about how this issue has impacted other employees or clients. Investigate how often the issue is occurring as well as the consequences if the behavior continues.
  2. Review the background information – Go through the files. Has this employee been talked to about this type of problem before? If not, assume that they are not aware of their performance deficiencies. If so, why has there been no positive change in the situation?
  3. See the problem from the employee’s perspective – What is driving this lack of performance? Maybe your team member didn’t get the appropriate training to do the job they are now being asked to perform. Is there work load too heavy so they are staying late at night but also coming in late in the morning as a result? The performance problem could be a methodology issue. The employee’s process for getting the job done is not producing the results that you need.
  4. Talk with the employee – Make sure that you are ready to discuss the situation with them. Get all of your ducks in a row, so to speak, including job descriptions, performance correction policies and the particulars of the issue along with consequences. Think about what you could have done to contribute to the issue and how you can figure into the solution.
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