Addressing Underperformance: When “More Training” is NOT the Answer

Coaching Skills, Leadership

Coaching, Employee Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Professional Growth, Team Management, Underperformance

By Starla

April 9, 2024

 Minute Read

To effectively address an underperforming team member, begin by answering these two crucial questions:

Ability

Do they possess the necessary knowledge and skills for their responsibilities?

In other words, do they KNOW HOW to do what they're being asked to do?

Do they possess the necessary knowledge and skills for their responsibilities? In other words, do they KNOW HOW to do what they're being asked to do?

Desire

Are they motivated to carry out their tasks effectively?

In other words, do they WANT to do what they're being asked to do?

Are they motivated to carry out their tasks effectively? In other words, do they WANT to do what they're being asked to do?

Ability?

Do they possess the necessary knowledge and skills for their responsibilities?

In other words, do they KNOW HOW to do what they're being asked to do?

Do they possess the necessary knowledge and skills for their responsibilities? In other words, do they KNOW HOW to do what they're being asked to do?

Desire?

Are they motivated to carry out their tasks effectively?

In other words, do they WANT o do what they're being asked to do?

Are they motivated to carry out their tasks effectively? In other words, do they WANT to do what they're being asked to do?

Then, based on your answers, determine the quadrant in the following matrix where the employee falls.

If your team member lacks both the ability and motivation to meet the expectations of their current role, it's crucial to acknowledge that they may not be in the right position. Consider transitioning them into a role that better aligns with their strengths, skills, and aspirations. If no suitable role exists within the organization, it's essential to support them in developing an exit strategy so they can seek opportunities elsewhere that are a better fit for their professional experience and aspirations.

Bottom Left Quadrant

If your team member possesses all the required knowledge and skills for their role but lacks motivation, it's likely a symptom of disengagement. Additional training won't resolve this issue. Instead, as their leader, your role is to identify the root cause of their disengagement and provide the necessary support and coaching to address it effectively.

Top Left Quadrant

If your team member demonstrates both the capability and willingness to meet their role expectations but still falls short, they are likely facing internal or external obstacles. These challenges could range from resource limitations and strained relationships to imposter syndrome, conflicting priorities, unclear directives from leadership, or difficulty applying acquired knowledge and skills effectively, to name a few.

Once again, the solution isn't more training—it's coaching. Engage in one-on-one coaching sessions to collaboratively identify and address the specific obstacle hindering their performance.

However, if, as a leader, you find yourself lacking the bandwidth to provide this coaching, or if you believe an impartial perspective could be beneficial, consider hiring an external coach. An external coach can offer fresh insights and dedicated support to help your team member navigate and overcome these challenges effectively. By working together with an external coach, you can ensure your team member receives the personalized guidance and assistance they need to reach their full potential.

Top Right Quadrant

If your team member is motivated and committed to meeting the expectations of their role, and upon assessment, it becomes evident that the primary obstacle impeding their success is a gap in knowledge or skills, then it's imperative to provide them with the necessary training and development opportunities.

Begin by conducting a comprehensive skills assessment to pinpoint the areas in which additional training is needed. Once identified, explore various training modalities such as workshops, online courses, mentoring programs, or external certifications that align with their learning style and development objectives. Additionally, consider leveraging internal resources or subject matter experts within the organization to provide tailored guidance and support.

Bottom Right Quadrant
Pulling It All Together

Addressing underperformance within your team requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By carefully assessing your team members' ability and motivation, you can effectively pinpoint the root causes of their challenges and implement targeted solutions for improvement.

Remember, more training is not always the answer. Training undoubtedly equips individuals with valuable knowledge and skills. However, it often falls short of ensuring long-term practical application. Whether it's aligning roles with strengths, providing coaching for disengagement, overcoming obstacles, or closing knowledge gaps, there are various avenues to explore. Additionally, don't hesitate to seek external support if needed, such as hiring an external coach to provide additional insights and guidance.

Ultimately, by investing in your team's development and proactively addressing underperformance, you not only foster a culture of growth and accountability but also unlock their full potential, driving success for both the individual and the organization as a whole.

Leave A Reply

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