Why Managers Must Deal With Poor Performance

One of the biggest challenges I hear from frontline managers is having to give negative feedback to their staff. Most managers find this type of feedback confrontational so prefer to ignore it and hope it improves on its own. Sorry, this is not going to happen, in fact behaviour often gets worse and impacts more and more people including customers.

Another reason why managers are hesitant in giving feedback is, often they haven’t been trained in how to give effective feedback. This is our core focus for the many clients we work with – how to improve poor performance and maintain great performance – all with managers and staff actually enjoying the process.

Let’s look at some of the key reasons why managers must provide consequences for performance – both good and bad:

  • Your staff know how they are doing – are they on track or off track? You need to let them know.
  • The team knows what good looks like and what it doesn’t look like. How can they perform if they have to guess what you want?
  • You can reward the ones who are achieving to keep them motivated – just catch them doing it right and tell them – they are highly likely to keep performing.
  • You can help the ones who are struggling – I strongly believe that most staff want to do a good job, so most want to know if they can improve.
  • If issues are not dealt with, they often get bigger and occur more often.
  • Ignoring poor performance sends a bad message to all team members. Poor performers know they can push the boundaries even more and good performers get annoyed that their colleagues are not being dealt with.

So, many reasons to ensure that poor performance is dealt with. Here’s some tips on how to do this:

  • Managers need to always be aware of what is going on with their team.
  • Raise the issue as soon as the poor behaviour takes place.
  • Always stick to the facts when giving feedback, don’t focus on the team member’s personality or attitude, instead focus on their behaviour.
  • Use the key Why question – “Why is it important to ……. (the right behaviour). Don’t use the question “Why didn’t you do …..” as this will just lead to the team member becoming defensive.
  • Ask them to buy in by improving straight away.
  • Follow up to catch them doing it right.

If you follow these steps 99% of your team will be okay with your feedback and work towards improving. And that is what being a great leader is all about – helping your team to constantly improve.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.