What? That’s not what we’ve been told since we became managers. How can this be?
It’s true, your people are not your most valuable resource….the RIGHT people are!
Ok….Ok….Ok…now we get it. But how do we know if we have the right people?
First, how did you hire them?
Did you have an intentional process to attempt to fit the person with the position? Did you explain the position, the detailed job description, and the scorecard (how their performance will be judged) to the candidate? Did you have them explain to you why they are the right person for that particular job? Did you allow them to shadow someone currently performing these tasks in your firm? Did you allow other members of your team with whom he/she will be working to assess the “fit” in the operation? Is the compensation offered/expected commensurate with the position?
Answering these questions in the affirmative will put you and your team in the place of most potential to succeed in hiring the right person. No….there will never be 100% assurance we will hit a home run in this process. But going through the above steps will certainly raise your batting average!
Second, what if a current team member is underperforming?
Before any more formal evaluation, a performance/attitude assessment should be thought out. In other words, is it truly a performance issue or an attitude issue? If it is an attitude issue, a serious crucial conversation must be had with the team member explaining your perception. Then, observation of behavior changes (or not) should occur. If positive, great! If not, it may be time to provide the employee with an opportunity to find the right fit in another organization.
If attitude is not the issue, management MUST evaluate if it has provided the team member TTE (Tools, Training, and an explanation of Expectations). By assuming that the employee should just “get it,” we are doing them a disservice. Without the proper tools, training, and understanding of what is expected, how can the team member truly excel? Yes, some do just “get it,” but most will not…and this is not a people problem most of the time, but a failure of management.
If management explained to me that my job, and their expectation, was that I dunk a basketball, obviously I would know what is expected of me. But if they simply told me that, without giving me the proper tools (a trampoline) and training (how to use the tramp), I would still be unable to perform up to par. Telling me I am failing without TTE does nothing but further frustrate my actual performance and may then lead to an attitude issue.
For your team to perform at potential, maybe it is time for an assessment of management’s performance. Have we done our job in providing TTE to every member in our organization? If not, don’t point at the employee’s lack of performance… assess management’s!
As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”