Disengaged team members are like the flue. They spread negativity and attribute almost nothing to the positive team spirit. Unfortunately, disengaged employees are everywhere and need to be treated with caution.

A recent Engagement Survey of 40,000 employees of over 300 companies discovered that “employee happiness is more dependent on co-workers than direct managers” and that “team play and collaboration are the top trait employees love about their co-workers”. Now, imagine what it can do to your team when one ( or worse, more) team members are disengaged and a poor performer. Here are 3 tips on what to do when you have a poor performer on your team.

1. Be consistent in your message
Great leadership is about walking the talk and inspiring your employees. Make sure you are always repeating the same message: “this is where we have been as a company, this is where we are now and this is where we are going”. In speeches, presentations or even in your email signature. There is no way of not knowing it.

2. Invest in your team
Understand the communication style of each employee in your team and how to adapt to that to make sure your messages have a big impact. Give formal and informal feedback. There is no room for surprises. Make sure there are teambuilding moments and individual moment. Understand the aspirations and goals of each of your employees.

3. Be very clear about expectations
Make sure roles and responsibilities are clear and give each employee autonomy and authority. This also means being very clear on the required mindset, behaviour and performance. Most importantly: set goals and make plans to monitor frequently and evaluate progress. Make sure to document the process!

Walk the talk
If you do not see positive changes in mindset, behaviour and performance, perhaps it is time to invest in an improvement plan combined with additional training and/or more management. Give it at least 6 months. You might be surprised by the positive results.
The best action you can take is to remove the disengaged poor performer when the results are still the same or became even worse. By making sure all 3 tips are followed, you have created a document which you can use in this process to enforce your decision. Your team will give you a standing ovation.

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