Did you check which category the unsatisfactory performer in your team/area might belong to?

So, let’s take a closer look now.

The ‘Know’ Category

There will be people who don’t know that their performance is unsatisfactory. This may be because they have little or no idea of the required standards for good performance or that they are blind to how they are currently performing.

People in this category need feedback from wherever or from whomever they can get it. This has to be the first port of call in the meeting – to find out if the person knows, is aware that their performance is unsatisfactory, not good enough.

The ‘Want’ Category

Very often it won’t be enough. For some reason, while the person is aware that their performance is unsatisfactory or their behaviour not appropriate, they don’t want to do anything about it.

The task then, in this case, is to find ways to get the person to want to change, to want to improve, however this is done.

The most effective way is to help the person to an awareness of the importance and value of behaving or performing in the desired way, how important their performance is in itself and to the entity (team/area/dept.) of which they are a part as well as for their own well-being too.

The ‘Able’ Category

The third case, where the person knows and wants but is not able to behave or perform in the required way is also very common.

Here, there is no point in admonishing, threatening or even promising rewards if the person changes or improves. This is futile because the person simply is not able to behave as required.

In these situations, we have to find out what it is the person needs in order to deliver the required level of performance. This could take different forms as in training, coaching, support, a challenge or change in some tasks, etc.

Not quite as straightforward as you would think!

Finding out to which category a person belongs is not always as straightforward as it might seem. It can be tricky.

Very often the person who doesn’t want to improve their performance will act as if they are oblivious to any need to change or improve. It may be their first coping mechanism.

We can get through this quite quickly without wasting too much time on it.

More challenging is the situation of people who are not able. Very often these will pretend to not know or to not even want to change rather than admit that they are not able.

Few people are happy to admit that they can’t handle some situation and so will attempt to hide it behind not wanting, not caring etc. Here we have to be intelligent and caring and be present to the person in such a way that they become more and more open to admitting that, for now at least, they are not able. And it is by our presence to them that we can facilitate this openness

Having this clarity around what may be behind people’s current behaviour or performance will add greatly to your sharpness and effectiveness as a manager.

In light of all this understanding – Write down what you will do differently now?

If you think they are in the –

“don’t know” category, what will you do?

“don’t want” category, what should you do?

not able” category, what will you need to do?