Dec 14, 2011 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

Firemen go into burning buildings as a team. If the one carrying the hose has not previously checked to see that it is working, what could happen? He would not only be endangering the lives of his fellow firemen, but perhaps the lives of the family in that burning home as well.

Performance is a function of both ability and motivation. In other words, ability is the person’s aptitude, as well as the training and resources supplied by the organization. Motivation is the product of desire and commitment. An employer should encourage each employee that, as part of a team, he has a responsibility to do his part. We have all heard that saying – “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” No truer words have ever been spoken when you are part of a team!

As a manager, you have control over work performance. It is important to know the difference between a problem and a work habit. A performance problem deals with expectations about how tasks are completed. It can be learned and practiced. For example, making sure reports are done and handed out before each staff meeting will be learned the more you do it. Work habits have to do with the standards of a work environment.

A poor work habit is disruptive and usually cannot be learned. Showing up late for work and continuing to leave early on a regular basis cannot be tolerated or accepted. Taking shortcuts in order to save time is an extremely poor work habit.

Some individuals may need to be retrained. Seminars could be provided,as well as learning certain new skills. These can often cure poor performances. People may get into ruts and fail to recognize these issues until they are evaluated with a poor performance review.

If the employee is giving you 100% effort, but his ability level is at 25%, he may not be able to do the assigned job, not matter how hard he tries. Is the job too difficult for him to do?

On the other hand, if the ability is there, but the motivation is not, all that may be required is a “quick fix” – taking him aside – letting him know what is expected and how his lack of enthusiasm affects his performance.

Communication is key when dealing with an employee who is performing poorly. He needs to know what is expected as well as what his duties are. These should be made clear – whether it takes place at staff meetings, through emails, or one-on-one’s. Don’t rely on word of mouth.

Do you, as a manager, walk the talk? Do your actions reinforce the company’s priorities and values? Is your employee getting what he needs from you as far as direction and guidance to perform his duties?

If an employee is allowed to continue to get away with not doing his job effectively, it can affect the whole team – negatively. No one likes to deal with someone whose performance is not up to par. It’s uncomfortable and you’re never sure of the reaction you are going to get. But if left for too long, it will affect the other members of your team. Their actions – or better yet – their lack of actions – can hinder goal achievement resulting in less revenue and profitability for the company.