Is an under-performer slowly eroding your corporate culture, alienating other members of your team and setting up a dangerous dynamic? Because that’s exactly what happens if you tolerate or compensate for a member of your team who isn’t pulling their own weight.
Under-performance is one of those subtle dynamics that goes on in many businesses. The underperformer fails to do what is expected, leaving a gaping hole in the business operations. This typically forces someone else in the organization to pick up the slack, sometimes making it difficult to detect the person or the problem.
Under-performance is Toxic to the Corporate Culture
The problem is that your under-performer learns nothing in the process because the message you or your team is sending is ‘keep doing what you’re doing’. This leaves the rest of your team feeling resentful because there’s someone under-performing but being rewarded equally.
This is how what you do, more than what you say, becomes the dominant corporate culture. Toxic behaviors, like under-performance, ultimately work against the value system you are working to instill in your employees. When other members of your team see that there’s a lack of accountability, they start to be less accountable.
“Why bother if the boss doesn’t care?”
The other toxic aspect of under-performance is that it sets up an under-performer-over performer dynamic. When the under-performer slips up, another member of your team, usually an over-performer who cares deeply about the business, begins to compensate for the under-performer.
It works like a Fulcrum in that to the degree that the under-performer lacks, the over-performer equally steps up. That person may end up working extra hours to make sure there are no loose ends or simply take on additional tasks and stress. The end result is the over-performer will start to burn out or become resentful and leave.
This is why you cannot tolerate under-performance from any member of your team. Failure to hold the slackers accountable and have meaningful consequences means your team won’t trust you as a leader. Not only that, but the more other members of your team have to compensate for them, the faster the over-performers will exit your organization, leaving you with a team of under-performers.
How to Deal With Under-performers in the Workplace
Clearly Define Expectations – First off, set clear objectives at both the individual and team levels. Schedule regular review meetings to go over the priority objectives and ensure every member of your team is doing their part.
Establish Accountability Systems – Tie performance to your internal rewards and performance management systems. Be clear about what happens if individuals continue to under-perform and be prepared to follow through with consequences.
Set Firm Boundaries – Draw the line of what is required to be an effective member of the team. Be careful about making exceptions for employees you like or have a more personal relationship with because these individuals can quickly become under-performers.
Address Under-performance – Be quick to address under-performance when you see it because chances are by the time you realize it, it’s been going on for a lot longer and is already undermining your corporate culture.
Reward Over-performers – If you want to establish a culture of getting it done, reward those individuals who go above and beyond on a regular basis. Be careful, however, to notice if they are compensating for an under-performer in the process, which may exacerbate the issue!
Worried that an under-performer is sabotaging your corporate culture? Contact me to set up your free consultation.