Dealing with underachievers requires using judgment and some knowledge of human psychology. Here are some ways to get underachieving employees moving in the right direction.
It’s the job of every manager to correct poor employee performance. But what if the manager is the person CAUSING the problems?
1. Talk about it. Communication is the key to managing anyone—underachievers and everyone else.
If you can’t seem to communicate with the underachiever, get one of the person’s peers to sit in on the meeting. Maybe the peer can get through where you can’t.
2. Expect more from them. What you expect from people is often what you get. If you write off an underachiever, he is likely to live up to your low expectations. Underachievers need more responsibility, not less.
3. Train people to train. Using lower-level workers to train others serves as a morale booster. Plus, when they train, they learn more themselves. Underachievers who are given this leadership role have a better attitude, their productivity is higher and they have more self-esteem.
Substandard job performance takes two players: the manager and the employee. And while it’s always easier for a manager to focus on the employee as the source of the trouble, it may be even MORE helpful to look to management as the source of the problem – and the solution.
4. Use the team approach. This is often a successful approach with underachievers. You want to draw them into a unit that’s bigger than they are and give them a purpose outside themselves.
5. Don’t be afraid to discipline. Underachievers need to know that someone’s watching. Not everyone can function independently. Try to set it up so the team acts as the disciplinary influence, not the manager.
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