Underperformance is stressful.
For team leaders, for the team, for the company.
Before you hit the panic button, here are four things to consider that could help you pull your team out of the red.
1. Identify the Problem Within Your Underperforming Team
This may sound obvious, but the first component to consider in an underperforming situation is identifying the problem.
Yes, you're dealing with an underperforming team, but who or what specifically is underperforming?
If you don't know the root cause, you're bound to continue to make the same mistakes.
Let's break down the term "underperforming" down for a moment.
When somebody says "you're underperforming," they're saying there's a goal that is not being met.
Well, if a goal is not being met, what contributed to that? Was it appropriately communicated? Was it managed effectively? Was it a reasonable goal in the first place?
Get granular with it. Start at the bottom, the foundational goal, and begin aligning your strategy from there.
2. Tighten Up Your Process
As with everything in life, things can quickly get out of control if you don't have a straightforward process.
Well, the same goes for a team.
Make sure any process you develop includes these key points:
Make sure you're aligned: Alignment to your goals is crucial. Everyone has to be working towards the same destination.
Communicate your expectations clearly: As Brene Brown says, "To be unclear is to be unkind." Clarity is your best friend. If your team is lacking communication or the expectations are not clear, then the team is going to fall short of their goal and, therefore, underperform.
Set attainable goals (even daily ones if you have to): Are there key indicators in place to determine how you performing? Don't just rely on monthly metrics, break it down to weekly and even daily goals to make sure your team knows what's expected every day in order to reach your shared goals.
3. Check In On Your Talent & Team Culture
Talent assessments are non-negotiable when it comes to evaluating an underperforming team.
Every person will have different strengths and weaknesses than the team member sitting next to them.
Identifying what each team member can contribute (or not) is critical for the team to perform at full potential.
An easy way to assess your talent is to know what's going on in their Head, Heart, and House. Because what's going on in each of these areas in life is absolutely affecting their business performance in one way or another.
(Learn more about my Head, Heart, House framework here.)
You'd be surprised at the difference a simple 5-minute meeting could make in the grand scheme of understanding your team's overall performance.
4. Taking Action With An Underperforming Team Member
In the world we live in, turnover is commonplace.
That said, if the issue with your underperforming team is an underperforming employee, try working with that individual before moving straight into firing and rehiring.
Assess their strengths and weaknesses, clearly communicate goals, work with them individually to see if you can turn the underperformance around.
Firing, hiring, and onboarding a new team member is expensive – both in time and resources.
While in some cases, it may be warranted, but if you're on the fence about letting an underperforming team member go, try looking at it from a new perspective.