Dealing with a failing employee

Dealing with a failing employee

So you have a failing employee! You have someone in your team that you think is letting you down. You can see that things are not working out as you expected. They’ve been around a while and things used to be fine. Now it is clear to you and other people that all is not well. What do you do?

First establish the facts. What is the evidence that performance really has changed and can you be certain that this team member is at fault?

Talk to the employee. Explain your concerns and any performance information you have gathered. Ask for their perspective.

Be fair, be open and be prepared to listen.

  • Do they accept that performance has fallen?
  • Are there factors inside or outside the organization that are affecting their performance?
  • Is there a health or family problem?
  • Do they understand the standard you expect?
  • Are they prepared to make a change?
  • Are there changes that you or others should and could reasonably make that will mean performance improves?

If the failure is down to the employee and there are no extenuating circumstances, within the bounds of employment law, you have choices to make. Much will depend on the reaction to your intervention.

If the employee accepts the failure and makes a commitment to improving their performance , apart from monitoring, there may be nothing further you need to do at this stage.

If performance does not improve, you will need to intervene again. You may need to coach the employee for a while and arrange some further training.

If that fails, you may need to impose closer supervision and move into disciplinary procedure and possible dismissal.

What matters most is that you intervene early – don’t let a bad situation just get worse.

  • Act early
  • Act always in good faith
  • Be willing to be open minded.
  • Collect evidence and be objective
  • Be clear about the standard you expect
  • Check that the employee understands your expectations
  • Reward progress with praise.
  • Keep records through-out
  • If you do have to dismiss, make sure it  comes as no surprise

But it is in your and their interests to give them a fair opportunity to make an improvement. Bringing an employee back on track is good for them, it is good for you and it is certainly good for the organization in terms of morale and use of resources, provided your intervention is in proportion.

Dealing with failing employees is never easy and the more prepared you are the better.  If you are a manager struggling with failing employees, a management training course or advice from a coach or mentor can help you learn the skills you need to really excel in the workplace and deal with all kinds of challenging situations.

If you need to the support of a coach in dealing with a failing employee, please get in touch

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach. She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com

Managing people – dealing with a failing employee

Managing People – Dealing with a failing employee

So you have someone in your team that you think is letting you down. You can see that things are not working out as you expected. They’ve been around a while and things used to be fine. Now it is clear to you and other people that all is not well. What do you do?

First establish the facts. What is the evidence that performance really has changed and can you be certain that this team member is at fault?

Talk to the employee. Explain your concerns and any performance information you have gathered. Ask for their perspective.

Be fair, be open and be prepared to listen.

  • Do they accept that performance has fallen?
  • Are there factors inside or outside the organization that are affecting their performance?
  • Is there a health or family problem?
  • Do they understand the standard you expect?
  • Are they prepared to make a change?
  • Are there changes that you or others should and could reasonably make that will mean performance improves?

If the failure is down to the employee and there are no extenuating circumstances, within the bounds of employment law, you have choices to make. Much will depend on the reaction to your intervention.

If the employee accepts the failure and makes a commitment to improving their performance , apart from monitoring, there may be nothing further you need to do at this stage.

If performance does not improve, you will need to intervene again. You may need to coach the employee for a while and arrange some further training.

If that fails, you may need to impose closer supervision and move into disciplinary procedure and possible dismissal.

What matters most is that you intervene early – don’t let a bad situation just get worse.

  • Act early
  • Act always in good faith
  • Be willing to be open minded.
  • Collect evidence and be objective
  • Be clear about the standard you expect
  • Check that the employee understands your expectations
  • Reward progress with praise.
  • Keep records through-out
  • If you do have to dismiss, make sure it  comes as no surprise

But it is in your and their interests to give them a fair opportunity to make an improvement. Bringing an employee back on track is good for them, it is good for you and it is certainly good for the organization in terms of morale and use of resources, provided your intervention is in proportion.

Dealing with failing employees is never easy and the more prepared you are the better.  If you are a manager struggling with failing employees, a management training course or advice from a coach or mentor can help you learn the skills you need to really excel in the workplace and deal with all kinds of challenging situations.

If you need to the support of a coach in dealing with a failing employee, please get in touch

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach. She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason @wisewolfcoaching.com

Other useful articles

  • Team Work; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning with Dr Tuckman
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming,Performing and Adjourning. Part 1 – Managing the Forming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 2 – Managing the Storming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning Part 3 – Managing the Norming Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 4 – Managing the Performing Stage
  • Team Work; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. Part 5 – Managing the Adjourning Stage

 

Team Work – bringing in a new team leader.

A picture from 2006 before becoming president ...Team Work – bringing in a new team leader.

Sometimes when you have a project or a piece of work being carried out for you, you need to bring in a new team leader.

Perhaps your existing team leader left suddenly on promotion or for a better opportunity elsewhere. Perhaps things have not been going too well and, as sponsor, you decide you have done as much as you can to support the old team leader – it is time to make a change. Sometimes, sadly, the team leader has been taken ill or in an accident.

Whatever the reason, you have to bring in someone new to lead the project team.

Now, you need to explain what is happening to the team. You don’t want to paint the old leader in a negative light – you know there are loyalties. But you do want them to accept the change and the new leader. What can you do?

Here are some tips.

  1. Give the team a clear and honest explanation for the change. Where things have not been going well, you need to be quite careful about attributing any failure specifically to the old team leader. But you can be clear about why a new approach is needed and then emphasise the background and experience of the new team leader.
  2. Honour the past. If good progress has been made and the old team leader left on good terms, there is something to celebrate. This should be done as part of the change to the new team leader. Again, if the old team leader has been taken ill it is important to recognise the contribution that they and the team have made so far.
  3. Tell the team about the new team leader. Before the new team leader arrives, give the team as much information as you can about the new team leader and why they have been chosen. Show that that both the team and the new team leader have your confidence and make sure the team are clear about the role and your expectations.
  4. Make introductions. When the new team leader arrives introduce them to the team yourself. It is great if this can be over coffee or lunch so that there is an opportunity for some informal chat as well as formal introductions.
  5. Have an induction program. Make sure someone takes responsibility for showing the new team leader round. If you want to minimise any glitch in performance make sure that there is an induction program and that the new leader meets key people and knows who they are.
  6. Follow-up. Remember to check back. Don’t wait for the next formal board or project meeting to find out how the new leader is settling in. A short phone call from you asking how the new team leader is settling in will make them feel them feel appreciated and give you early warning if all is not going well. Touch base with the team themselves sometimes to show you haven’t abandoned them but be careful not to undermine the new team leader when you do it.

If you need support transitioning between team leaders, get in touch. Working with a coach can help a team make the change without disruption.

Wendy Mason is a Career Coach with Life Coaching skills and expertise in helping people have the confidence they need to be successful at work while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason
@wisewolfcoaching.com

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