In the last two weeks, we have been looking at managing poor performance:
This week, we are going to look at what to do if you cannot turn the poor performance around.
First, however, I should say two things
- In many regions of the world, you will have laws which mean you need to do this properly, to avoid unwanted complications and problems. I am not a lawyer and know the laws in precisely none of the legal jurisdictions of the world.
- The above does not absolve you of the responsibility to deal properly with poor performance and neither, if you take proper advice and act with care, need it stop you.
Consequently, the following is nothing more than some generic thoughts, which you need to test against local law and your organisation’s policies and procedures.
The Supremacy of Evidence
Rule 1: you can’t act effectively without evidence. No manager can be effective unless you are constantly aware of your team members’ performance – and that means reviewing evidence of what they are doing and how it compares with the requirements of their roles. Take into account also any external factors that are affecting their work.
Documentation and Record Keeping
You also need to keep records and document what happens. Most procedures and, I am sure, most legal systems will require documentary records to provide solid evidence that can back up your judgements and so justify your decisions. Some systems will require copious data gathering and recording, so be structured and methodical. Also ensure that your records are kept under lock and key or in strong-password protected files.
Openness and Choice
Be open with the poor performer about what you are observing and the implications it has for their future. Be clear about the choices they have and the implications of each choice for them. You cannot make me perform to a specific standard, but you must let me know the implications of my choice not to.
Care and Compassion
Finally, you may want rid of me – for all the right reasons – but that is not a good reason to abandon all compassion for me as a human being and, more important organisationally – to disregard any duty of care that you have towards me during the process, while I am still employed.